Support for families with children aged 10-18 years old

Below we outline the support available to families with children aged 10-18 years old.

We offer support to you, as adoptive parents, in your parenting task to maximise your child’s emotional, social and educational development.

Emotional and behavioural support

  • Parenting our Teen course, please email if you would like more information on this course and when/where the next one will be.
  • RIO (Really I’m Ordinary) is a group for young people aged between 13 and 17 years old, this group is currently based in Exeter, but our aim is to set up similar groups in other areas across the region. For more information, please email
  • 15 week Therapeutic Parenting course facilitated by a clinical psychologist and supported by staff from Adopt South West
  • Targeted and time limited individual sessions based on PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, Empathy) therapeutic parenting strategies techniques by trained practitioners from Adopt South West.
  • Adoption Support Fund – funding for therapeutic services to help achieve a range of positive outcomes for you and your family. Workers in Adopt South West are available to assess and advise on what therapeutic services may be the most appropriate to support your family.

Education support

Adopt South West can work with adoptive families to complement education-based support.  While we are not able to offer direct support to adopters in school, we work with colleagues in education across the region; providing advice on transitions, attachment, trauma etc. We also offer training to people working in education as well as having meetings with them, to look at the best ways of supporting, children, young people and their adoptive parents.

  • Priority access to schools (as well as choosing which school best meets the child’s need). A School Admissions Code came into force on 19 December 2014 which made it a statutory requirement for school admission authorities to give the highest priority to children that were previously in the care of a local authority; this includes adopted children.
  • Virtual School Heads are responsible for promoting the educational achievement of all the children looked after by the local authority, including adopted children. They are responsible for managing pupil premium funding for the children and for allocating it to schools and alternative provision settings (these are places that provide education for children who can’t go to a mainstream school). Virtual School Heads are also responsible for managing the early years pupil premium. They’re in charge of giving the premium to the early years providers that educate looked-after children (including adopted children) who are taking up the free early education entitlement for 3- or 4-year-olds.
  • Education psychologists can work with children and young people in education and early years settings. Educational psychologists tackle challenges such as learning difficulties, social and emotional problems, issues around disability as well as more complex developmental disorders. Check with your local authority education department to see if they provide this support.
  • Education Plan for Adopted Children has been developed to support children and young people who are adopted (or under Special Guardianship) and is similar to the Personal Education Plan document used for children in care. The main purpose of the Education Plan for Adopted Children is to make schools and other providers aware of the needs of adopted children and to encourage dialogue between parents and schools. It gives a structure to the conversation and ensures that there is collaboration between schools and parents, as well as any other professionals such as the Adoption Support Team.
    An Education Plan for Adopted Children can only be completed when parents choose to identify their children as adopted. The Education Plan for Adopted Children is voluntary and is not a statutory document, reviews should be agreed between parents and schools and should be according to need. Education Plan for Adopted Children should begin after the last Personal Education Plan when the child leaves care for adoption. Check with your local authority education department to see if they provide this support.
  • Jargon buster – sometimes, the world of special educational needs feels like it has a language all of its own. Use this jargon buster of the main words and phrases. Some are special educational needs terms but there are also job roles, organisations and services.

Health support

  • FASD South West is a parent-led website on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). As the website develops it will include support and information relating to health, therapies and education.
  • Happy Maps: fostered and adopted children and Happy Maps Worried about your child’s behaviour or mental health? Reliable resources developed by GPs and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) professionals for parents and carers, and for young people and children.
  • Young Minds is a national organisation concerned with the mental health of children and adolescents. It runs an informative website and helpline for parents who are concerned about their children’s emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Child’s identity support

Financial Support

  • Financial needs assessment – in certain exceptional circumstances your family may need additional financial support for you to care for child[ren], any such payment would be subject to an assessment of need and subject to a financial means assessment. For more information on this, please email


We also coordinate a number of events and support activities throughout the region.