The Adoption Passport For your child Children adopted from care have priority access to schools, which means that your child should be able to attend whichever school you think best meets their needs (www.gov.uk/schools-admissions). They are now also entitled to free early education from the age of two (www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-and-education-for-2-to-4-year-olds). If your child needs extra support, we can assist you in requesting an assessment of adoption support needs from the Local Authority who placed your child. If you think your child may have special educational needs, we can offer advice and support for you in asking your Local Authority to assess these needs too. For you as an adopter Many adopters are entitled to adoption leave and pay when their child is placed with them (www.gov.uk/adoption-pay-leave). The law is changing to make this entitlement equal to maternity and paternity leave pay, and it will include the right to take time off when you are meeting your child, before they move in with you. Adopters may have priority for council housing (www.gov.uk/council-housing). If you are living in council housing and claiming Housing Benefit or Universal Credit while waiting for a child to move in, you can also apply for funding (Discretionary Housing Payments) so that you are not penalised financially while you have an empty spare room. You are also entitled to a summary of your child’s health from his or her Local Authority’s medical adviser before he or she is placed with you and background information to help you understand your child’s early life. After your child has been placed with you, a Life Story Book will be provided by the Local Authority to help your child understand his or her early life. Support Services Advice The Local Authority responsible for placing your child/ren or responsible for providing Adoption Support Services will have an Adoption Support Services Adviser (ASSA) to help you access adoption support and other specialist services, such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. The NHS commissions health services to meet the needs of adopted children and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence will produce new guidance so that your GP will understand the problems that you may face. The Adoption Support Services Adviser’s contact details should be available on the Local Authority’s website. Every adopter is entitled to an assessment of their adoption support needs, but Local Authorities do not have to provide support in response to an assessment. The services that you are able to access will depend on your circumstances. The Adoption Support Fund (implemented on the 1st May 2015) means that Local Authorities must tell adopters about Adoption Support Services and their right to an assessment, and will give those who receive support a choice about how that support is provided, either by a Local Authority or through a ‘personal budget’ to purchase services from an Adoption Agency, or adoption support agency. The provider of Adoption Support Services must be Ofsted registered. The Adoption Support Fund is available for children up to and including the age of 21 (or 25 with an Statement of Educational Needs or Education, Health & Care Plan) who have been adopted from Local Authority care in England or adopted from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland but who are living in England and for whom the English Local Authority bears the statutory responsibility to assess. Since 1st April 2016, the fund is now also available to inter-country adopters and Special Guardians who care for children who were previously looked after. If you want advice on adoption support you can also contact one of the many adoption support organisations, such as Adoption UK (www.adoptionuk.org.uk) or read the e-learning materials on the First4Adoption website which explore the effect of children’s experiences on their development and the services available to help them. Which Local Authority? The Local Authority that places your child with you is responsible for assessing your adoption support needs for three years after the adoption order has been granted. After three years, it becomes the responsibility of the Local Authority where you live (if this is different from the Local Authority which placed your child). If you are approved by an Adoption Agency, like Adoption Focus, you can benefit from accessing a wide range of adoption support services that are offered by the agency, in addition to or alongside any statutory duties that the Local Authority have identified through your assessment. Adoption Support Services provided by Adoption Focus We provide a diverse range of support services for children adopted from care. These services are available to all adopters approved by Adoption Focus and their children. We are also able to undertake work on behalf of Local Authorities who have a duty to provide an adoption support assessment of need, but may purchase our services. Our Adoption Support Services include: Counselling, information and advice Help with emotional, behavioural, social and attachment difficulties Advice and support with post adoption contact between an adopted child and his or her birth family Social events across the regions to enable groups of adopters and adoptive children to get together Groups for children and young people to provide advice and support and offer respite to parents. Monthly meetings (Play and Stay) for parents (held in the South, Central and North regions) a fathers group and a group specfically for teenagers Regular specialist training workshops throughout the year to help adopters to meet the needs of their adoptive children including: Attachment, Trauma and Loss Talking and Telling Life Story Work Managing Teenage Behaviour Understanding Challenging Behaviour Sibling Placements Therapeutic Play Existing Children in the family E-Safety & Social Networking Post-adoption contact with birth families A Buddy Scheme where committed and experienced adopters support you along your adoption journey Theraplay (a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment) providing a 12 week programme of support Undertaking Therapeutic Life Story Work Parent consultations before and after placement to help you further understand your child’s needs and providing advice on parenting approaches Family and Friends training to enable the adopters’ support network to understand and appreciate the needs of adopted children and how best to support their loved ones through the process Help and support if an adoption disrupts or breaks down Adoption Focus is committed to working closely with Local Authorities to ensure Adoption Support Services are accessed for you and your children. Access to these services is available to all Adoption Focus adopters at the very beginning of your adoption journey for as long as you need it. To access Adoption Support Services from Adoption Focus please call 0845 519 0539 and ask for Adoption Support Compliments and complaints If you have any comments or complaints about the support provided by Adoption Focus, you can contact Anna Sharkey, our CEO by telephone on 0845 519 0539 or by email at [email protected] Web contact form can be found at here. Thereafter, if you are not satisfied with the way a complaint has been handled, you may be able to refer it to the Local Government Ombudsman (www.lgo.org.uk). You will also soon be able to raise general concerns with the new champion for adopters, foster carers and special guardians. First4Adoption is the dedicated information service for anyone interested in adopting a child in England. It is managed by Coram and Adoption UK, and supported and funded by the Department for Education. Call First4Adoption: 0300 222 0022 Visit their website: www.first4adoption.org.uk Follow them on Twitter: @First4Adoption Family Society Adoption Focus TS3 Pinewood Business Park Coleshill Road Marston Green Birmingham B37 7HG Email: [email protected] Adoption Focus is the registered adoption agency of Family Society, a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales under number 06869556. Family Society is registered as a charity with the Charity Commission for England and Wales under number 1129095 and with Ofsted under number SC394569. Registered Office: Kemp House, 152 City Road, London EC1V 2NX.