Change to Adoption Support Funding (ASF)

The adoption and special guardian support fund (ASGSF) provides funds to local authorities and regional adoption agencies (RAAs) to pay for essential therapeutic services for eligible adoptive families.

The ASGSF will continue to offer support to up to March 2025 and will have two fair access limits

A new name change for the Adoption and special guardianship support fund (ASGSF). The ASGSF model is based on the existing statutory framework for the assessment of adoption support or SGO support needs and the provision of support services.

Maximum funding allocations for each child:

Until the end of March 2025, the ASGSF will have 2 fair access limits:

  • £2,500 per child per year for specialist assessment
  • £5,000 per child per year for therapy

The majority of applications to the fund fall within these limits. In exceptional cases, where there is an urgent need for higher cost support, local authorities or Regional Adoption Agencies (RAA) are asked to match-fund applications.

Criteria for match-funding:

  • a high risk of adoption breakdown without high cost support
  • local authorities and RAAs dealing with an unusually high number of complex cases that they cannot afford to fund without additional support from the ASGSF
  • additional funding would help to progress hard to place adoptions
  • a lack of available, affordable therapeutic support means higher cost provision is required

The ASGSF can fund up to 50% of the amount above the fair access limits, up to a maximum of £30,000 per child including the fair access limits.

Funding eligibility

To be eligible for funding, local authorities and RAAs must apply to the ASGSF within 3 months of assessing a family’s support needs.

The ASGSF is available for children and young people up to and including the age of 21, or 25 with an education, health and care plan, who:

  • are living (placed) with a family in England while waiting for adoption
  • were adopted from local authority care in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland and live in England
  • were adopted from abroad and live in England with a recognised adoption status
  • were in care before an SGO was made
  • left care under a special guardianship order that was subsequently changed to an adoption order, or vice versa
  • are under a residency order or child arrangement order (CAO) and were previously looked after
  • were previously looked after but where the adoption, special guardianship, residency or CAO placement has broken down, irrespective of any reconciliation plans

You should make a funding application before therapy starts.

They will only consider retrospective applications in exceptional circumstances. This includes:

  • the need for an urgent intervention due to the family situation
  • an unexpected absence of approving local authority staff when the funding is commissioned

How do families access ASGSF support ?

The local authority or RAA that places a child with a family is responsible for assessing that family’s support needs for 3 years after the order is made. After 3 years, the responsibility lies with the local authority or RAA where the family lives, if they have moved.

Families apply to the relevant local authority or RAA, which will assess their needs.

Local authorities and RAAs will:

  • assess the family and consider if therapeutic support is needed
  • decide on the type required and if it is eligible for payments from the ASGSF
  • apply directly to the ASGSF
  • purchase the support from their own list of approved suppliers when the ASGSF approves funding

For more information about what can be funded please see this helpful summary by First 4 Adoption here

For further information, please contact the team: