This page outlines the support adopters in England can access.
Adoption leave & pay
Adoption support plans
Prior to applying for an adoption order, an adoption support plan is drawn up between the adoptive parents and social workers. The plan outlines the support the child is expected to need in the future and how the adoptive parents will access it. As it can be more difficult to access support once the adoption order is made – with responsibility ceasing to be shared between the adoptive parents and the state, to only being the adopters’ responsibility – many New Family Social members find it useful to delay applying for an adoption order until they feel their concerns and requests for support are fully reflected in the adoption support plan.
Where do I get support from?
Your local authority can advise you on possible adoption support services that may be available to you.
The local authority that places the child with you is responsible for assessing your adoption support needs for three years after the adoption order. After three years it becomes the responsibility of the local authority where you live, if they are different.
If the child has lived with you for more than three years then contact your local authority to find out what support services might be available in your area. Each local authority has an adviser responsible for the services provided by that local authority. The adoption support team in your local authority is legally obliged to assess the needs of you and your child – and will consider with you what services could be of help.
If you adopt through a voluntary adoption agency you can approach it to discuss what post-adoption support services it provides that may help you. If necessary, your agency could help you approach your local authority if appropriate.
For more information visit First4Adoption.
Adoption Support Fund
This is funding for essential therapy services for adoptive families, as and when they need it. There's also separate funding for essential assessments that can be accessed if it is recognised that one is needed in order to better target needed therapy services - which some members find useful as this bypasses the local CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services) provision and isn't subject to the same waiting list, which can be a matter of years. Find out more on First4Adoption.
Education support for English adopters
This is funding – £1,900 per pupil – to help education providers give extra support to all children adopted from care to help them reach their potential. Visit First4Adoption for more information on how to help your child’s school access Pupil Premium.
Early Years Pupil Premium: Pre-school support funding
This is additional funding for early years pre-school settings to improve the education they provide for disadvantaged 3- and 4 year-olds including – but not restricted to – those adopted from care.
The funding goes directly to registered early years providers – including pre-schools, nurseries and childminders – that offer children free early education entitlement. Find out more on the First4Adoption website.
Priority access to school places
Adopted children living in England have priority access to schools, so that their parents have the greatest chance to gain a place in the school that most meets their child’s needs. Find out more on gov.uk.
Free education and childcare for 2-year-olds
A child can get free early education and childcare if they’re looked after by a local council or have left care under a special guardianship order, child arrangements order or adoption order. Find out more on gov.uk.
Housing support for adopters in England
Priority housing for approved adopters
Approved adopters may be entitled to priority access to council housing . This depends on the adopter’s individual Local Authority housing policy. Make enquiries with the Housing Department in your local authority to establish what their policy is. Find out more from First4Adoption.
Discretionary housing payments
If you live in council housing and claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit while waiting for a child to move in you can also apply for Discretionary Housing Payments so that you’re not penalised financially while you have an empty spare room. Find out more on gov.uk.
Adoption leave and pay
Employed adopters are usually entitled to adoption leave and may be entitled to adoption pay, which is a legal right if you meet the criteria. Certain employers offer a more generous scheme than the statutory one, but no employer can offer less than the statutory amounts.
Read First4Adoption for a handy summary of the rules and entitlements for adopters arranging adoption leave and pay.
'To make sure that staff who adopt are treated as equally as staff who need time off for antenatal appointments, you can get paid time off work to attend five adoption appointments after you’ve been matched with a child. You will qualify for this paid time off if you qualify for statutory adoption leave. Your pay for these appointments should be at your normal salary rate and the time off shouldn’t be deducted from your adoption leave.
'If you don’t qualify for statutory adoption leave because your partner will take it – only one person in a couple can take adoption leave – you can still take time off work to attend two adoption appointments. The time off for these two appointments will be unpaid – unless your employer chooses to offer them as paid time off – to mirror the situation with a pregnant couple, where the pregnant woman’s partner is entitled to unpaid leave for two antenatal appointments.'