Whilst the Adoption Support Fund is heavily promoted to adoptive parents we became concerned that some of our special guardian members had received no information about it at all, and were not sure whether they would be eligible, based on the information provided on the Mott MacDonald website, which is not very clear. We wondered if special guardian families were accessing this fund.
We wrote to Mott MacDonald, who administer the fund, for information on 2/12/17.
Dear ASF team
We hope you might be able to assist us with the information we require below for our special guardian members. This information is not provided on your website and we feel it would be helpful if this could be rectified.
Dear Adopters Together
Thank you for your email, unfortunately we are unable to provide the data you have requested below. If you wish to request access to this information you would need to make a Freedom of Information request of the Department for Education.
With regard to your query about eligibility the Deparentment for Education have confirmed that the age eligibility applies in the same way to SGO and adopted children i.e. up to 21 years old and 25 years old with SEN/EHCP plan.
First name of individual replying
We took the decision to publish our request for information from Mott MacDonald, and this company’s response, as we feel quite strongly that this information is a matter of public interest and should be published on the Adoption Support Fund website – it should not be down to individuals or organisations to have to make Freedom of Information requests. Mott MacDonald and the Department of Education ought to be doing their utmost to identify eligible families where the fund may be needed, but is not, for whatever reasons, which need to be properly understood, being used or accessed.
We ask Mott MacDonald to take responsibility for providing this information on their website.
We thought the views of one of our special guardian members who has accessed the fund, were pertinent to this discussion about support for children under Special Guardian Orders, especially in the light of the recent announcement by the Minister of Children and Families, that the £5k cap will continue for another 2 years:
” £5,000 does not cover some much needed therapy, even if the LA match the amount it is not going to pay for some therapies. The therapy we received cost, if I remember rightly, £16,000 for 24 sessions, and that left our LA looking for £6,000 shortfall for not just one year but two. The therapy has not come to a conclusion, not because there is a positive outcome but due to financial constraints. I believe the government well and truly underestimated the problem that our traumatised children carry and live with. These children are our future and if they are not helped in childhood the likelihood that they will have problems in adulthood is very high. As for whether children under Special Guardian Orders can dip into the ASF, we were told in our area we were the only ones.”