We know that when families adopt a child or young person they may need continued support and assistance. We work in partnership with adopters and other agencies to make sure you’re able to look after and care for the child or children you’ve adopted.
Children who are adopted can have ongoing needs and you and your child or children may benefit from ongoing support. You may also be able to receive support from the local authority that your child is from, for up to three years, after that the responsibility to access support passes to the local authority where you live.
We offer round the clock support and advice when you need it. We’ll support you and your children throughout their lives, making sure you have the help you need to tackle the most difficult issues and connecting you with the services that can most help you. Our Adoption Support teams will be available to provide further information on services available.
You can access our range of events, training and support groups including:
- Help and advice with our social workers over the phone or in person
- Support groups where you can meet other adopters and your children can play
- Workshops and training on a range of topics
- Free membership for Adoption UK for one year post adoption order
- Free membership for New Family Social for LGBT+ parents
- Peer mentoring from other adopters
- Support for adopted children in school. Every adopted school aged child is eligible for pupil premium.
- If you have an adopted young person aged 11 to 18 they may be interested in looking at the Teenagers support groups or Adopteens
- Letterbox exchange, a confidential service to facilitate the exchange of letters between adopters and birth families
- Help and advice about future contact between the child and birth family including the role of social media
- Lifestory Work - children may want more information and support around understanding their birth family history
Post Adoption Support Plans
All adopters should have a support plan agreed before they adopt their child. The plan includes details of specialist support that will be needed, outlines contact arrangements and agrees any financial support that may be offered. The Adoption Support plan will be reviewed annually with your consent.
Contact with the birth family
In most circumstances, children who are adopted will continue to have some level of contact with their birth family even if this is through indirect means such as annual letters. We have dedicated staff who support both adoptive and birth relatives in this.
Through the adoption training and beyond, our adopters are advised and supported in how to maintain links with birth family members.
For some children who are adopted, it is agreed that they will have varying kinds of contact with members of their birth family. The most common form of this is through the Letterbox, which is an indirect way for children who are adopted to communicate with their birth parents and possibly other members of their birth family or significant others. We can offer you guidance to assist you in writing letters on behalf of your children. We can also offer support when direct contact with birth relatives has been agreed for your child.
As a parent you are able to join a variety of support groups which provide an excellent opportunity to meet other adopters in the area and have an informal get together over a cup of tea. Your worker will be able to tell you more about this as well as support groups for your children.
Training for adopters post approval
We offer lots of ongoing training to our adopters and you can speak to your worker if you think there is something you would be interested in. We also have a wide range of information, books and DVDs that all adopters are able to access to help you on your journey.
The Adoption Support Fund
The government’s Adoption Support Fund can be used to fund specialist therapeutic support for your family.
Adoptive families who are in need of specialist therapeutic support can access the Adoption Support Fund via their Adoption Support pathway. The funding is designed to help you access specialist therapeutic services. There are many different forms of therapy that can support you and your child’s needs during your adoption journey. This support can help children process their previous experiences, and bond together as a family. To find out more visit the website here: www.adoptionsupportfund.co.uk
Support for LGBT+ adopters
One Adoption South Yorkshire is a member of New Family Social, a national organisation that supports LGBT+ adopters. Once prospective adopters apply to be assessed, families can join New Family Social themselves via their website and will automatically be provided with free membership.
Right from the beginning of your adoption journey we'll be preparing you to adopt. We'll take you through each stage of the adoption process to identify any training needs you may have.
We’ll make sure you have all the information you need to help you make decisions at each stage of the process.
In addition to the information, preparation and training we provide for all our enquirers or applicants, we’ll talk to you at each stage of the adoption process to identify your personal training needs.
This will help us to give you the right support as you develop your experience and understanding the needs of children who have had a difficult start to life and may need to be parented in a therapeutic way.
We also offer training for those considering to adopt through Fostering to Adoption or Early Permanence and for those who are considering adopting a sibling group.
Preparation to adopt course
The aim of the course is designed to prepare adopters for the journey ahead of them, to build on their knowledge and understanding of what adoption is, and about the types of backgrounds that children may have experienced.
The course covers:
- Legal issues
- Child development, attachment and loss
- Valuing difference
- Positive parenting
- Understanding the effects of neglect and abuse
- Identity and contact
- Adoption support
We also run a short refresher course to update people adopting for a second time.
We understand that parenting can be a challenge, particularly if you are parenting a child who has experienced trauma, abuse and neglect. Research and experience tells us that having a good support network can be a vital part of a successful adoption placement.
Professional support is important but the support offered from family and friends is the most valuable to adoptive parents and their children.
We offer a one day training for family or other members of your support network to ensure they have an understanding of the early life experiences of children with a plan for adoption therefore allowing them to consider how to provide relevant practical and emotional support to their family members embarking on their adoption journey.
Did you know that adoptive parents are entitled to paid adoption leave?
Many adopters are entitled to adoption leave and pay when their child is placed with them, through their employer. The law is changing to make this entitlement more similar to maternity and paternity leave pay and it will include the right to take time off when you’re meeting your child, before they move in with you. You’ll find more about adoption pay/leave on the Gov.UK website.
Support for adopted children in schools
Did you know that schools are asked to give all children who were previously looked after by the local authority, priority access to schools, which means that your child should be able to attend whichever school you think best meets their needs? Read more about it in the Department for Education's school admissions code.
At school, your child will be eligible for the Pupil Premium – an additional £2,345 each year for state-funded schools to help meet an adoptive child’s needs. You would need to let the school know that your child is adopted so that the school can claim the pupil premium. For more details visit: www.first4adoption.org.uk/adoption-support/education-support/pupil-premium
Other places to go to for help and advice
As well as the support we provide, these national organisations and charities can also provide useful information and advice:
- Adoption UK
- Independent Review Mechanism (an independent body to review decisions about approving adopters)
- National Gateway for Adoption (First4Adoption)
- New Family Social