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Evaluation of the Adoption Support Fund: first follow up survey of families

Report | March 2022

This report is the third in a series of reports relating to our evaluation of the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) during 2018-2021.

Our first report provided early findings on the experiences and views of a range of local authority and provider stakeholders. The second report included findings from a ‘baseline’ survey of over 1,000 adoptive parents and Special Guardianship Order carers whose children and families were about to receive therapeutic support.

This third report explores findings from the second (wave 2) of a 3-stage longitudinal study of adoptive parents and carers of children with a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) who have received funding for therapeutic support from the Adoption Support Fund.

The wave 2 survey was sent to families immediately after the therapeutic support ended, or 12 months after it started, whichever was the sooner. The survey was completed between March 2020 and March 2021 and, at that point, 783 of the 1,008 parents and carers who had originally completed the baseline survey had also completed a wave 2 survey.

Families were asked a range of questions, including experiences of seeking and getting help through the fund, as well as aspects of their child and family needs at that point in time. Key findings include:

  • Two thirds of parents and carers who completed a wave 2 survey considered that their child or family had participated in all or almost all sessions and had completed the planned programme of support. However, post-COVID-19 responses suggest that a much lower proportion (9%) of these parents
    considered that their programme of funded support had continued completely as planned.
  • The most frequently accessed supports were: Dyadic Developmental
    Psychotherapy (19%); Therapeutic Life Story Work (14%); Play Therapy for the
    child alone (15%) or Theraplay (11%); Sensory Integration (Processing) Therapy
    (10%); and certain forms of parent training such as Non-Violent Resistance (7%),
    Building Attachments (8%) or Nurturing Attachments (7%).
  • Despite the amount of COVID-related disruption to planned support for so many families, all aspects of the support continued to be rated positively (very satisfied / satisfied) by parents and carers.
  • This study found signs of positive outcomes for children and families by the end of their funded support, particularly for school-aged children.
  • The majority (80%) of parents and carers completing a wave 2 survey thought that their child and / or family continued to have need of therapeutic services after the end of the most recent period of funded support.
Katy Burch, Assistant Director
Katy Burch, Assistant Director

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