All-Party Parliamentary Group for Adoption and Permanence: Report on Adoption Support Fund

This House of Lords Library briefing provides information in support of the House of Lords debate on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Adoption and Permanence’s report Investing in Families: the Adoption Support Fund beyond 2020.

• The Government has reported that, since its introduction, the ASF has had a positive effect on adopted children and their families. In December 2018, the then Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, announced funding to the scheme would be increased. At the same time, the Government said funding for the scheme would be guaranteed until March 2020.
• In its July 2019 report, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Adoption and Permanence also concluded the ASF was currently having a positive transformative effect. It argued the Government should provide longer-term funding for the scheme after March 2020.
• The APPG made several other recommendations. For example, it argued that some children and families were facing delays in accessing the ASF. In addition, Voluntary Adoption Agencies were unable to apply directly for the funding. The report recommended that improvements should be made to the scheme to address these issues. It also identified administrative burdens on social workers regarding the ASF and recommended that this should be addressed.
• The Consortium of Adoption Support Agencies and the CoramBAAF—a membership organisation for agencies and individuals in family placement services—have both supported the APPG’s recommendation that funding for the ASF be secured after March 2020.
• Members in both Houses have spoken in support of the continuation of the ASF, including members of the APPG. In May 2019, during a debate in the House of Lords on adopted children and schools three members of the APPG—Lord Russell of Liverpool, the Earl of Listowel (Crossbench) and Lord Triesman (Non-affiliated)—spoke in support of the ASF. The Shadow Spokesperson for Education, Lord Watson of Invergowrie, also argued for the fund to be protected after 2020.
• In July 2019, during a debate in the House of Commons on early years family support, Victoria Prentis (Conservative MP for Banbury), similarly called on the Government to safeguard the continuation of the ASF. Ms Prentis is an officer of the APPG.
• On 15 October 2019, the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, announced the Government would continue to provide funding for the ASF until 2021. The Government has said funding after 2021 will be subject to the spending review, planned for 2020. Gavin Williamson subsequently announced a further £5 million for the ASF would be available during 2020–21.