In April 2018 we wrote to the DfE asking for support to complete the analysis of our survey, hoping the work we were doing would be of interest. We wrote a second open letter to the Children’s Minister, having received no response to the first, sent in January. We received a response to both correspondences (see below), a month later, in May 2018, from an official to whom our correspondences had been passed, sent from an email address that could not be responded to. We continued to undertake the analysis of data as best we could, and produced four reports:
An Enquiry Report about EHC Plans -produced as a submission to the House of Commons Education Committee (taken off our website after we were informed this would prevent it being published by the Education Committee as a submission)
We sent our reports to Isabelle Trowler the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families (with whom we met with in March 2018). and to the Children’s Commissioner – who has kindly facilitated contact with an official at the DfE for a meeting. We very much hope to meet with someone at the DfE at the earliest opportunity to try and make progress.
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Email response from DfE official, sent on 10th May 2018
“Thank you for your two recent emails to the Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi, on 8 April and 18 April about the work of Special Guardians and Adopters Together, including a request for support to analyse your recent survey.
As I am sure you will understand, Ministers receive a high volume of correspondence and your enquiry has been passed to me as an official with responsibility for adoption policy.
The government values immensely the people who put themselves forward to take on the challenging but rewarding role of being an adoptive parent or a special guardian. Adoption or special guardianship can make a huge difference to children, many of whom have had a difficult start in life. I was therefore sorry to read that some of the adopters and special guardians you have been in contact with feel too frightened to ask for help.
We want adopters and special guardians to come forward and seek support. In 2015, this Government introduced the Adoption Support Fund to enable adoptive families and special guardians (from April 2016) to have access to specialist therapeutic support services when they need them so as to improve outcomes for young people and families. The Adoption Support Fund alone has provided more than £65m towards therapeutic interventions and supported thousands of children and families.
I am grateful to you for sharing your report as we value such feedback. I understand that you are seeking funding to recoup costs and complete the analysis of the survey. Unfortunately, the Department for Education is unable to fund this project at this time. As you may be aware, the Department is currently funding a multi-year evaluation of the Adoption Support Fund and providing grant funding for the development of Regional Adoption Agency led adoption support centres of Excellence. I hope that these projects will help address some of the issues raised in your emails.
Thank you for writing to me on these important issues.