Fears funding for adoption therapy will run out
Council chiefs are concerned about what will happen when funding for adoptive families to have therapy comes to an end.
Families in need of therapeutic support can get help from the national Adoption Support Fund which covers adopted people up to the age of 21 or 25 if they have special needs.
Referrals in Sheffield have continued to grow but the fund is due to end in 2020.
In a report, officers say: “There is no clarity about what will happen when the fund ends in 2020 and this is a cause for concern.
“Expectations have been created about being able to access therapeutic services for children and families via this route particularly while meeting the threshold for Children and Mental Health Services remains difficult.
“However the future is unclear for both adoption agencies and families in this respect. A challenge has been to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of this therapy and we have had to think more clearly about how we measure this.”
The regional Adopteens group found young people are not always clear about why they are receiving therapy and the timing of it does not always feel right.
The report adds: “This is a complex area as we know that many families and children have also benefited from the therapy provided via the fund.
“We are currently creating a more robust review of support provided. However we do have feedback from a large number of adopters about the value of the support provided. The majority of feedback is positive and adopters have said that it has helped.
“There are some frustrations about the delays in providing therapy since, even with the fund, there is a shortage of providers.
“Additionally adopters can sometimes overestimate the ability of the adoption support team to access resources from other agencies such as education or CAMHS.”
There has been a significant increase in people looking for support. In 2017/18 there were 60 requests for post adoption support and 50 received help.
Last year the figure rose to 88 requests, 73 of which received support.
Along with the fund, there are also a number of groups. Parents can get support with newsletters, WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages. Five team members are trained in different levels of therapy play aimed at building attachments within adoptive families.
Sheffield is also part of a Yorkshire service which supports adoptive families, adult adoptees and birth families. Teens can get support from a website, online chat forum and a youth council.