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Adoption Support

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

The Adoption Passport: A Support Guide for Adopters

Adoption Support Fund (DfE / Mott MacDonald)

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in June 2019 in line with the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and revised statutory guidance which require schools, through the Designated Teacher for Looked After Children, to offer support to previously looked after children.

A previously looked-after child is one who is no longer looked after in England and Wales because they are the subject of an Adoption, Special Guardianship or Child Arrangements Order which includes arrangements relating to with whom the child is to live, or when the child is to live with any person, or has been adopted from ‘state care’ outside England and Wales.


Contents

  1. What is Adoption Support?
  2. Principles
  3. Duty to Provide Information Concerning Adoption Support
  4. Examples of Adoption Support
  5. When to Assess the Need for Adoption Support
  6. Which Local Authority Should Carry out the Assessment?
  7. Which Local Authority Should Provide the Support?
  8. Process of Assessment for Adoption Support 
  9. The Adoption Support Plan
  10. Financial Support
  11. Adoption Support in Relation to Contact
  12. General Support to Adoptive Families


1. What is Adoption Support?

Adoption Support includes any support likely to be required for an adoptive placement to endure through to adulthood and is applicable to both existing and new situations.

Local authorities must make arrangements, as part of their adoption service, for the provision of a range of adoption support services.

Local authorities do not have to provide the services themselves but must have made arrangements for services to be provided by voluntary or other agencies such as Health or Education. Commissioning arrangements must be underpinned by appropriate approval and written agreement.

Gateshead Council is committed to providing a service to all members of the adoption triangle, for example adoptees (children and adults) adopters and birth relatives.

We recognise that adoption is a lifelong process and that all parties have a right to support at any stage. We recognise that modern adoption is complex and families are likely to need support and that adoptive families need to have normal family lives without unwarranted intervention.


2. Principles

2.1 Children who are Adopted

The Agency is committed to ensuring that children have an understanding about adoption and in particular their own life story as children need to grow up with a knowledge of their past and a sense of their identity.

Post adoption contact will be supported and encouraged by the Agency. This will be at a level appropriate to the child’s needs. Adopters will be prepared for the process of telling children about their adoption and maintaining important links with the child’s past.

2.2 Adopters

The Agency is committed to working closely with adopters and promoting adoption as a positive choice. We will empower and support adopters in parenting their adopted children.

We recognise that at each stage in the child’s development adoption issues may emerge and families may require support.

2.3 Birth Families

The Agency recognises that adoption of a child, whether or not by consent, is a painful process. We will provide or commission counselling and support to birth families on issues associated with the adoption of their child. The agency has a service level agreement with After Adoption to provide independent support for birth families.

The agency recognises that the adoption of a child outside the birth family does not necessarily mean the end of all contact. We are committed to maintaining links, using the principle that the child’s needs are always paramount.


3. Duty to Provide Information Concerning Adoption Support

Under the Children and Families Act 2014, the local authority has a duty to provide information on adoption support services to:

  • Anyone contacting the authority to request information about adopting a child;
  • Anyone informing the authority that (s)he wishes to adopt a child;
  • Any parent of an adopted child within the authority’s area who requests the information;
  • Any parent of an adopted child within the authority’s area of whom the authority is/becomes aware (e.g. where a parent rings about an SEN assessment and it becomes clear that the child is adopted).

Information must be provided about:

  • The full range of adoption support services available in the local authority area. This includes, but is not limited to, therapeutic services, assistance in relation to contact arrangements, and financial support;
  • The right to request an assessment for adoption support services (at any time);
  • The address and telephone number of the authority’s Adoption Support Services Adviser;
  • The availability of assessments for adoption support services for persons outside the local authority area, so that parents understand which local authority is responsible for assessing their support needs;
  • Contact details for first4adoption and the local web-based information service which provides information about adoption;
  • Priority school admissions (where relevant). Details can be found at School Admission Code (GOV.UK);
  • Priority council housing and Discretionary Housing Payments;
  • The entitlement to early education from the age of two (from September 2014);
  • How to make a complaint, both under the local authority complaints procedure and to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman;
  • Any other relevant services provided by the local authority;
  • Any other information that the local authority considers relevant.

The following information must also be provided to potential and prospective adopters:

  • Details of where to find information about adoption pay and leave. Details can be found at Adoption Pay and Leave (GOV.UK website);
  • Information about the right to receive a copy of the child’s permanence report, including a summary of the medical adviser’s report on the health of the child, before the child is placed with them for adoption;
  • The entitlement to a life story book. This should include who provides the life story book, what it includes and what it can be used for.

When a person requests information about a specific service, the local authority must ask whether they would like any of the other information as well.

Information does not need to be provided where:

  • The local authority has provided all the necessary information in the last 12 months and none of the information has changed substantively;
  • A person has informed the local authority that they do not wish to receive the information (unless the authority considers it appropriate to do so);
  • Where the information has already been sent, e.g. where the same person requests the information a number of times in a short period.
If the local authority refuses a person’s request for information, it should give reasons for the refusal and signpost the person to the website that holds the information.


4. Examples of Adoption Support

See also The Adoption Passport: A Support Guide for Adopters

Adoption support is defined as including:

  1. Financial support to adopters. This can include paid adoption leave at similar rates to maternity and paternity leave;
  2. Priority access to social housing, and access to additional support to cover a spare room whilst adopters wait for their child to arrive in their new home;
  3. Priority admission for school places, including academies and free schools;
  4. The role of the designated teacher in offering support to previously looked after children and to their new school, see Education of Looked After and Previously Looked After Children Procedure;
  5. Services to enable groups of adoptive children, adoptive parents and birth parents to discuss matters relating to adoption;
  6. Assistance, including mediation, with contact arrangements between adopted children and their birth parents or others with whom they share a significant relationship;
  7. Therapeutic services for adopted children;
  8. Assistance to adoptive parents and children to support the adoptive placement and enable it to continue, including respite care;
  9. Assistance to adoptive parents and children where a placement disrupts or is at risk of disruption;
  10. A range of adoption support services, including access to counselling, information and advice for both adoptive parents and their children, who may have complex needs;
  11. Assistance with cross boundary matters;
  12. Intermediary Services - see Intermediary Services Procedure.

Support provided under 5) to 9) above may include cash assistance, for example to pay for a babysitter, although this would not be regarded as financial support.

Providing Choice

The agency recognises that any member of the adoption triangle may be reluctant to access Local Authority services.

We will provide choice by contracting the services of external voluntary agencies, such as After Adoption.

Adoption Support Service Adviser (ASSA)

The Adoption Support Services Regulations 6 requires the local authority to appoint an Adoption Support Services Adviser (ASSA).

In Gateshead the ASSA is the Service Manager for Safeguarding and Planning with some of the functions delegated to the Adoption Team Manager. The role of the ASSA is to:

  • Give advice and information to people affected by adoption, sign post services and advise on how to access services;
  • Give advice information and assistance to staff in the local authority on assessments adoption support services in particular supporting and facilitating intra- and inter- agency joint working;
  • Give advice on good practice in adoption;
  • Consult with and give advice to other local authorities for example liaising between local authorities where the family are moving between areas.


5. When to Assess the Need for Adoption Support

5.1

In relation to adoptions arranged by the agency, practitioners must assess the need for adoption support at the following stages of care and permanence planning:

  1. When preparing the Child's Permanence Report for presentation to the to the Agency Decision Maker or Adoption Panel as to whether the child should be placed for adoption. The report should identify any needs of the child which may require adoption support following an adoptive placement. When family finding for the child, the profile of the child’s needs should be updated and include an assessment of potential support needs;
  2. When preparing the Prospective Adopter's Report for presentation to the Adoption Panel as to the suitability of prospective adoptive parents to adopt;
  3. When considering and preparing the Adoption Placement Report for presentation to the Adoption Panel in relation to the proposed placement of a child with particular prospective adopters.
5.2

In relation to placements arranged by the agency, adoption support must also always be considered at a child's Adoption Reviews following the adoptive placement.

See Adoption Reviews Procedure

5.3

Local authorities must also undertake assessments of need for adoption support at the request of the following:

  1. Children who may be adopted, their parents or guardians;
  2. Persons wishing to adopt a child;
  3. Adopted persons, their parents, birth parents and former guardians;
  4. Other children of adoptive parents (whether or not they are adopted);
  5. Birth siblings of adopted children;
  6. Relatives of the adopted child or other persons with whom the child has a beneficial relationship.

The requirement to assess the need for support is limited to the entitlement to services of the person making the request.

As well as adoptions arranged by the local authority, children adopted from abroad are entitled to be assessed for therapeutic services and disruption support. It is only where the adoption is by a step parent that there is no requirement to carry out an assessment, although in such cases, counselling, advice and information may be offered as appropriate.


6. Which Local Authority Should Carry out the Assessment?

The table below sets out which local authority has responsibility for carrying out the assessment of need for adoption support, and in what circumstances.

Circumstance Responsibility for Assessment
Child being Looked After by Gateshead Council and in respect of whom an adoption plan is being considered Gateshead Council.
Child was Looked After and placed by Gateshead Council with an adoptive family Gateshead has responsibility at the time of the placement and for up to 3 years after the Adoption Order is made. Following this the local authority where the adopters reside will have the responsibility in relation to any subsequent requests.
Child is placed for adoption by another local authority with an adoptive family who live in Gateshead. The placing local authority has responsibility at the time of the placement and for up to 3 years after the Adoption Order is made. After this period it becomes the responsibility of Gateshead Council.
In all other cases (i.e. non agency placements except step parent adoptions) The assessment must be made by the local authority where the person making the request lives.


7. Which Local Authority Should Provide Support?

The local authority responsible for carrying out the assessment of need should propose how they intend to meet the identified needs. 

The exception to this is where ongoing financial support e.g. adoption allowances and/or supporting contact arrangements have been agreed by the placing authority before the Adoption Order was made, in which case the responsibility to provide such support will remain with that authority for as long as eligibility for the service continues.


8. Process of Assessment for Adoption Support

In all cases where an assessment is required, the practitioners involved should conduct assessments by following the guidance set out in Working Together. The assessment should take account of the adoption context and, where the assessment relates to the child, all the developmental needs of the child should be covered including health, education and emotional needs, and contact issues. The relevant education service and health trust should be consulted as necessary.

Assessments of need for adoption support under paragraph 5.1 (a) and (b) above should be carried out by the child's social worker and/or the prospective adopters' social worker as appropriate prior to being presented to the Adoption Panel. When preparing the Child’s Permanence Report for presentation to the Agency Decision Maker, the child’s social worker should provide an overview of the child’s support needs once placed and also consider the needs of the birth parents and other birth relatives, and other persons with whom the child has had a significant relationship, e.g. siblings. Consideration should be given to a referral to the Adoption Service Birth Family Support Worker or to After Adoption.

The assessing adoption social worker should outline any assessment of need for adoption support in the Prospective Adopter’s Report for presentation to the Adoption Panel. Prospective adopters will be advised of the statutory duty of local authorities to assess for adoption support needs and the provision of support services at various stages of the process - information evenings, preparation training during the Home Study and in the various information leaflets and the Adopter’s Handbook provided by the Adoption Service.

The assessment under paragraph 5.1.(c) at the time of the child's proposed placement with prospective adopters should be considered at the Selection and Matching Meeting and also have the approval of the Designated Manager (Adoption Support) prior to being presented to the Adoption Panel with the Adoption Placement Report. The Adoption Placement Report, incorporating the Support Plan, is given to prospective adopters who have 10 working days in which to consider all the proposals for the placement and can make their own comments on a pro-forma for consideration by Adoption Panel and Agency Decision Maker. At all stages, the Adoption Panel must consider and may give advice on the proposed adoption support and this advice will be considered by the Agency Decision Maker, before making a final decision on the contents of the Adoption Support Plan - see Placement for Adoption Procedure.

During the statutory reviews of the child in the adoptive placement, consideration must be given to the arrangements for the provision of Adoption Support Services for the adoptive family and whether there should be any re-assessment of the need for those services.

Any assessment (under paragraph 5.2) considered necessary at an Adoption Review, as a result of which a change in the Adoption Support Plan is required, should be referred to the Designated Manager (Adoption Support) for approval who will consider whether the case should be referred back to the Adoption Panel and the Agency Decision Maker.

Requests for assessment for adoption support under paragraph 5.3 should be entered on CareFirst as an initial enquiry and details passed to the Adoption Team Manager to be allocated to a social worker to carry out an assessment, with advice from the Adoption Team Manager or Adoption Support Services Adviser as necessary. The assessing social worker will usually need to interview the person being assessed - where this is a child, the adoptive parents will also need to be interviewed depending on the case and the age, understanding and wishes of the child.

Where the assessment is clearly more complex, a referral should be made to the appropriate local authority social work team. If the initial enquiry for support is more serious and involves possible placement breakdown or child protection issues a referral should be made as a matter of priority to the Integrated Referral and Assessment Team in the area where the adopters live. The family should be notified that such a referral is being made. The Adoption Support Worker can have continued involvement in order to provide advice on adoption support issues.

An assessment will not be required before providing advice and information but full details of any enquiry and involvement should be entered on CareFirst.

Where an assessment is carried out as a result of a request under paragraph 5.3, a written report of the assessment should be produced and agreed by the Designated Manager (Adoption Support).

A copy of the assessment report, once approved, should be sent to the person assessed with notice of the outcome of the assessment, which should state:

  1. The person's assessed needs for support;
  2. Whether the local authority proposes to provide adoption support services and if so, what the proposed services are;
  3. Where the assessment relates to the need for financial support, how this has been determined and calculated and the conditions to be attached, (see Section 10, Financial Support).

Where the person assessed is a child, and it is not appropriate to send the notice to the child, notices should be sent to the adoptive parent or the most appropriate adult.

Where services are proposed, a draft Adoption Support Plan should usually be attached to the notice and those assessed should be allowed time to consider and make representations on the proposal as set out in Section 9, The Adoption Support Plan.

Where the service proposed is one-off, the notice of the outcome of the assessment will be sufficient to outline what is proposed and a draft plan will not be required.


9. The Adoption Support Plan

9.1 Contents of Adoption Support Plan

An Adoption Support Plan should set out clearly:

  1. The objectives of the plan and the key services to be provided;
  2. The timescales for achieving the plan;
  3. Those responsible for implementing the plan and the respective roles of others; what should be provided, when and by whom;
  4. The criteria that will be used to evaluate the success of the plan;
  5. The procedures that will be put in place to review the services to be provided and the plan.

The Adoption Support Plan will need to be completed after consultation with the appropriate Health Trust, CAMHS or education service where any special arrangements may need to be made. Where the child is placed in the area of another local authority, the agencies in that authority's area will need to be consulted as to what services may be available for the adopters and the adopted children. In these circumstances, the prospective adopters should be assisted with any cross-boundary issues that may arise.

The Adoption Support Plan should include any proposed financial support, how the amount has been calculated, where it is to be paid in instalments - the frequency of payment, the period over which it will be paid and when the first payment is to be made, the conditions and the consequences of failing to meet them and the arrangements for review, variation and termination, (see Section 10, Financial Support).

9.2 Consultation with proposed recipients of adoption support

Once a proposed Adoption Support Plan has the approval of the Designated Manager (Adoption Support), a copy should be sent to the proposed recipients of the support, as well as to any party involved in the delivery of the plan.

The recipients of the proposed support should be given 10 working days to consider the proposals and make representations to the local authority about the proposed plan. Any representations made should be considered by the Designated Manager (Adoption Support), who will amend the draft plan as appropriate and inform the recipients of the outcome of his or her consideration.

9.3 Approval of Adoption Support Plan

In relation to proposed agency adoptive placements, the proposed Adoption Support Plan will be submitted to the Adoption Panel when the proposed placement of a child with particular prospective adopters is recommended. The final Adoption Support Plan will be approved, taking into account any advice given by the Adoption Panel. See Placement for Adoption Procedure.

In relation to other situations in which adoption support is proposed, the Adoption Support Plan will be approved by the Designated Manager (Adoption Support).

9.4 Distribution of Adoption Support Plan

A copy of the final plan should go to all those involved in implementing it, and to the recipients of services (or appropriate adult). Where the child has an Independent Reviewing Officer, a copy should be sent to him or her.

9.5 Reviews of Adoption Support Plan

Where adoption support is in place prior to an Adoption Order, the Adoption Support Plan should be reviewed at the reviews of the adoptive placement - see Adoption Reviews Procedure - or at any time if there is a significant change of circumstances, within four weeks of the notification of the change.

After the Adoption Order has been made, the Adoption Support Plan will be reviewed if a change in circumstances is brought to the notice of the local authority. The Adoption Service Manager will decide on the format and content of any such review, which will depend on the circumstances of the case. It may refer to only one element of the Plan or be relatively minor in which case an exchange of correspondence may be sufficient. (For annual reviews of financial support, see Section 10.7, Annual Review of Support).

Where the change of circumstances is substantial, such as a serious change in the behaviour of the child, it may be appropriate to conduct a new assessment of needs involving other parties.

If as a result of a review, whether before or after an Adoption Order has been made, it is proposed to vary or terminate the support, the proposed change must be referred to the Designated Manager (Adoption Support) for approval, who, in the case of agency adoptive placements, may decide to refer the case back to the Adoption Panel for information and advice and then to the Agency Decision Maker for a decision to be made.

Once approved, the person concerned must be notified of the proposed change, together with a copy of the revised Adoption Support Plan in draft. He or she must then be given 10 working days to make representations on the proposals.

Any such representations should be submitted to the Designated Manager (Adoption Support) whose decision as to the final contents of the revised Adoption Support Plan should take into account any representations made.

Notice of the decision must then be sent to the person concerned with reasons and, where appropriate, a copy of the revised plan.

9.6 Urgent Cases

Where there is an urgent need for support, the support can be provided before a Plan is drawn up following consultation with the Adoption Team Manager or Adoption Support Services Adviser but the above procedure should then be followed as soon as possible.


10. Financial Support

10.1 Introduction

Financial support is intended to supplement existing means of support available to adoptive parents and the child or children being adopted. Adopters must be given advice of entitlements to employee's rights to leave and pay, benefits, tax credits and allowances, and these should be taken into account when considering amounts of financial support.

10.2 Criteria

The circumstances in which provision of financial support may be paid are as follows:

  1. Where it is necessary to ensure that adoptive parents can look after a child;
  2. Where the child needs special care which requires a greater expenditure of resources by reason of illness, disability, emotional or behavioural difficulties or the continuing consequences of neglect - and the child's condition is serious and long-term;
  3. Where it is necessary for the local authority to make any special arrangements to facilitate the placement or the adoption by reason of the age or ethnic origin of the child or the desirability of the child being placed with siblings or a child with whom he/she has previously shared a home;
  4. Where such support is to meet the recurring costs of travel for visits for the child to members of the birth family/significant others;
  5. Where the local authority considers it appropriate to contribute towards expenditure on legal costs, including Court fees (in cases where the adoption is supported by the local authority), or expenses associated with the child's introduction to adoptive parents or expenditure on accommodating the child (e.g. adaptations to the home, furniture, clothing or transport).

10.3 Types of Payment

Payment to adoptive parents may be made in the following ways:

  • Regular payments - which will be based upon the developmental age of the child and calculated as agreed from time to time by the local authority;
  • Lump sum payments (settling in costs, special needs and adaptations), which will cover items or adaptations that are required as a consequence of assessment of each child's individual needs. Payment may be in instalments and will end at a time specified by the local authority;
  • Payments in special circumstances (for example, a child with additional needs or where foster carers adopt a child for whom they are already caring or where adopters incur legal expenses in contested cases). Payment may be in instalments and may end at a time specified by the local authority.

Financial support cannot generally include the "reward" element which may be payable to foster carers and neither will payments be made so as to provide an income. However, payments may be paid above the usual level where it is regarded as necessary to ease the transition from foster care to adoption. Generally such additional payments can be paid for a period of two years although in exceptional circumstances, additional payments may be paid for a longer period.

10.4 Assessment for Financial Support

Where regular financial support is considered appropriate, the amount to be paid to adoptive parents may be determined by an assessment of their means. This will take account of the adopters' income and resources (excluding their home), reasonable outgoings and commitments, and the financial needs and resources of the child. (N.B. Support provided under Section 10.2 (v) to assist with legal costs or expenses associated with the child's introduction to the placement will not be subject to an assessment of means.)

As part of this assessment, the adopters should be asked to complete a Financial Assessment Form and the completed form should be forwarded to the Adoption Service. The Adoption Service Manager will decide the level of support to be included in the draft Adoption Support Plan (see Section 9, The Adoption Support Plan), having regard to this assessment, and obtain budgetary approval as necessary depending on the amount.

In relation to proposed financial support for a new placement, the Adoption Support Plan will be submitted to the Adoption Panel with the Adoption Placement Report when a matching recommendation is being considered. See Placement for Adoption Procedure.

10.5 Notification

The adopters will be sent written confirmation of the decision to provide financial support. This will include the amount and terms of the support and information about annual reviews.

10.6 Terms and Conditions

If it is decided that financial support should be given to adoptive parents, payment may be subject to conditions and a date specified by which the condition is to be met.

Prior to making financial support available to prospective or adoptive parents, they will be required to inform the adoption service:

  1. Of changes to their home address;
  2. If the child (for any reason) no longer lives with them;
  3. If there are any changes to their financial situation/the resources of the child.

Where information is given orally, adoptive parents must confirm this in writing within 7 days.

Should adoptive parents fail to comply with the requirements, the authority may suspend payment of the financial support provided.

10.7 Annual Review of Support

Adoptive parents must also agree to complete and supply the authority with an annual statement of their circumstances for the annual review.

The adopters should specify the following in the statement:

  1. Their financial circumstances;
  2. The financial needs and resources of the child or children;
  3. Their home address and whether or not the child or children live at home with them;
  4. If there have been any changes to their own or the child/children's circumstances.

The Adoption Service will carry out an annual review of the financial support, taking into account the information given. Any proposed variation or termination of the financial support must be notified to the person(s) concerned and dealt with by the Adoption Service in accordance with the procedure set out in Section 9, The Adoption Support Plan. Any decision to vary or terminate should also consider whether it is appropriate to seek to recover all or any of the financial support already paid.

Should adoptive parents fail to supply an annual statement, the authority must send a written reminder and give 28 days to comply. If they fail to comply, the authority may suspend payment of the financial support provided.

Remuneration for former foster parents

Where the adopter previously fostered the child they are adopting, and they received remuneration in the financial support paid to them as the child’s foster parent, the local authority may continue to pay remuneration for a transitional period of two years from the date of the adoption order. This can continue for longer than two years if the local authority considers the case to be exceptional.

The decision to include remuneration must have been taken before the making of the adoption order.

10.8 Ending of Financial Support

Financial support will end in the following circumstances:

  • When a child reaches age 18, unless he/she continues in full time education or training when support may continue until the end of the course of education or training being undertaken, subject to any other financial support the child may be entitled to receive;
  • Where a child ceases full-time education or training and commences employment;
  • Where a child qualifies for income support or job seekers allowance in his/her own right;
  • Where circumstances have changed significantly and the criteria are no longer met;
  • If a child leaves the adoptive home and this is regarded as a permanent departure;
  • Temporary absences do not apply, e.g. boarding school, hospital, and respite care;
  • The child dies.


11. Adoption Support in Relation to Contact

Any one who has entered into a direct or indirect contact arrangement with an adoptive family is entitled to ask the local authority for an assessment for the provision of a support service in relation to that contact. This may include a request for mediation if a difficulty has arisen in relation to that contact. When assessing support needs the services the local authority may consider could include:

  • Preparing for and arranging direct contact;
  • Preparing for and arranging indirect contact (Letterbox);
  • Reviewing either of the above;
  • Responding to a new request regarding contact.

At the time of the decision that the child should be placed for adoption the birth parents will have been informed of their right to independent counselling. This can be offered by either the Birth Family Support Worker in the Adoption Service or via our service level agreement with an independent provider. Birth parents may wish to involve their worker in helping them prepare for and undertake any contact which has been agreed between themselves and the child, and which is in the child’s best interests.

The type of contact post adoption should be discussed from the point of the decision that the child should be placed for adoption and should form part of the Care Plan. In achieving a placement, agreement may have been reached in relation to contact between the child and a range of significant people - birth relatives, former foster carers, birth siblings or relatives in another permanent placement. When considering family finding for children and a match for a particular child, the contact plan should form part of the discussion.

A written Contact Agreement will be drawn up with the prospective adopters and birth relatives by the child’s social worker and the adopter’s social worker and overseen by the Birth Family Support Worker who is responsible for co-ordinating contact arrangements. The contact agreement will outline the type of contact, frequency of contact, and who the contact is for, and if required and appropriate, include any arrangements for reviewing the contact.


12. General Support to Adoptive Families

The agency offers a range of general support services to all adoptive families with whom it has placed children. It also offers the same range of services to adopters who have had children placed with them by other agencies and who are living within the Borough.

Prospective adopters are given information about adoption support at all stages. Adopters recruited and assessed by Gateshead are informed about After Adoption and Adoption UK. One year’s membership of Adoption UK is supplied by Gateshead on placement of a child if the adopters wish to take up membership.

An annual newsletter is produced and the Service hosts an annual Summer event for adoptive families to meet each other and keep in touch with the Service. Adopters may raise adoption support issues with workers present at the event.

In addition, adopters have access to regional groups and events run by key partners e.g. Sage Music group, After Adoption, consortium events etc.

End