Placing children for adoption across Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

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Support Services

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Right Support, Right Time

Evidence, research and our own direct experience, shows that most adopters and children may benefit from support at some time.

For it to be effective, support must be provided at the right time. Families for Children aim to offer a proactive approach to supporting adoptive parents from the outset, when and where needed, helping them access a range of support services. Here at Families for Children we have team of skilled workers with many years’ of experience of working with adopted children, young people and families who able to offer a wide range of experience and knowledge on parenting.

We have created a programme of groups, training and social events to connect and support adoptive families from across the region.

We have regular groups for toddlers, teenagers and the whole family; one off workshops and training courses for adopters and professionals. For a more specialist therapy service we can support families in accessing the Adoption Support Fund services.

A large percentage of our support services are not statutory and are provided through the fundraising we do . We continue to raise £400k per year to provide these services, to ensure that no family is disadvantaged through cost to receiving additional support

Access to Advice & Support

Families will experience challenges and have questions at different times in their lives and Families for Children encourage adoptive families – parents, young adults and children – to seek advice and help if they need support. We provide support through our Family Support and Advice service which is delivered by experienced Family Support Workers who are supported by Senior Practitioners (experienced Social Workers) and a Manager.

The service is available to approved adopters and adopters and offers information, advice and guidance, signposting to other services, virtual contact where a direct conversation is required, help in accessing community support and peer support through our Peer Link mentoring scheme.

The Advice and Support line is available Monday- Friday 09.30 - 13.00

Call us on 01364 645480

Initial Placement Support

At the time when children are matched with families and transition and placing plans are being considered, families and professionals will be involved in identifying the most appropriate services to support the placement. This may include Setting the PACE , which is delivered through our Family Support Workers, additional training or liaising with other professionals and/or agencies. The allocated social worker will remain involved until the Adoption Order is made.

When the Adoption Order is made we will review the support plan with the family to assess whether further support is required. The outcomes of this review may be that the case is closed and the family step-down to universal services, Families for Children continue to provide family support for a further 3 months (this will be reviewed every 3 months) or the support required is stepped-up to a statutory agency – Local Authority Children’s Services, School and/or Health Services.

Families for Children are skilled in supporting families, including those children with complex needs, who may be experiencing some difficulties.  As part of the matching and support plan we will talk about the support a family might need post-adoption and agree how the support will be accessed and the types of support we can provide.

Telephone Counselling & Mentoring Support

A listening ear...

Telephone counselling is available for adopters to have access to direct one to one support to assist with family issues/concerns.  Having the opportunity to talk through how adoption feels for adopters with our trained counsellors is highly valued.  For FFC Adopters, there is the opportunity to have up to 6 sessions, per adopter, free with one of our counsellors, with the opportunity for more to be purchased either by them or placing authority if needed.

Setting the Pace

We know how important it is for placements to get off to a good start, and with the right support from the outset.

Families for Children have a programme of planned support, which goes into families just prior to placement, through the early weeks, to help establish the practice around the theory of parenting more therapeutically and building on adopters’ strengths. Focussing on the specific child, rather than a general view, the programme is flexible, practical and tailored to each family’s circumstances. The course includes attachment play techniques and developmentally pitched play, therapeutic parenting, developmental trauma, education, boundaries, routines and transitions. Additional sessions, or repeating sessions where needed are all part of the package designed to set families thinking and parenting in the most supportive way possible for their adopted children.

Learning Support & Education

School based difficulties is extremely common for children who have experienced early stage trauma and many adoptive parents experience difficulties with schools understanding the specific needs of their child.  Family Support Workers are experienced in school settings and attachment difficulties and are available to support families in helping school to understand the individual needs of children.

Families for Children Adopters will have up to 3 supported school based meetings to establish a Support Plan or implement multi-agency CAF (Common Assessment Framework) meeting. Our Senior Practitioners have devised and delivered a workshop to schools to assist their learning in how to support children who have been adopted.

Peer Link

Peer Link is a service that provides one to one support to adopters using volunteer mentor who are experienced adopters. Volunteer mentors have been recruited and trained by Families for Children and receive mentoring and supervision from Families for Children staff.  Peer Link can provide 8 one to one sessions over a period of 12 through telephone or virtual contact. At the end of the 12 weeks the mentor will review the needs of the adopter and Families for Children will determine if the service can be closed, whether a further 8 sessions are required or whether the family is stepped up to formal family support services.

The scheme is designed to provide an informal network to adopters, supporting them to feel less isolated, grow in confidence and make good links with other adoptive parents. Peer mentors are a good sounding board for newly approved adopters or adopters experiencing particular difficulties. The scheme offers a different kind of support and understanding from people who have direct and personal experience of being an adoptive parent.

Families for Children are developing a peer link service for young people who have been adopted through the recruitment of mentors who have experienced adoption or spent time in the public care system.

Support Groups

Having local links to community services is important for all families but some adoptive families will require additional support to complement these services. Families for Children  run virtual and face to face support groups which include activities to support identified need – like enabling single adopters to come together to share their experiences/advice., Little Stars Parent and Child group and the Music Group.  Many of the groups are free to Families for Children adopters or heavily subsidised by Families for Children to make them affordable and accessible to families. As we will be able to provide these virtually in the future it will make them accessible to all families that live in our geographical area.

Support for Young People

Families for Children are developing a service for young people to support them and their families. Families for Children has an Outdoor Activity Manager and a number of sessional youth workers who are able to give support to young people from the age of 11 and up to 25 years, dependant on the funding secured, and can offer virtual and direct contact 1:1 sessions, small group work and an outdoor activity programme during holiday periods. The purpose is to prevent young people feeling isolated, anxious or stressed, by offering a youth friendly approach that seeks to engage them and support their mental and emotional wellbeing, engage in fun activities and offer them a place to chat with other like-minded young people.

Families for Children are currently developing services for young people and these will be delivered face to face and virtually.

FREE Training & Workshops

Families for Children offer a range of workshops to cover aspects of adoptive parenting that need exploring in more depth than is possible on the mandatory preparation training course.  These workshops will be available to be viewed through our website and will address areas such as the impact on child development of Domestic Violence, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Sexual Abuse, transition planning at significant changes for children such as starting school. It is hoped that we will expand our on-line workshops and at a future date cover topics such as Non Violent Resistance Techniques and Life Story Work for Adopters.

Social Events & Activities


The opportunity for adopted children to meet up with other adopted children in a supportive and nurturing environment is hugely valuable.

There are whole family events such as:

  • Park Walks
  • Summer picnics
  • Christmas activities
  • Skittles
  • Crate stacking and many more...

all of which provide chances for children to relax and have fun with others. These events are organised and managed by our Family Support Workers.

Specialist Adoption Support

If a family feels that support is needed, they have the right to request an assessment from the Local Authority, who can then submit an application for an Adoption Support Fund. The service is available to all adopted children who have been referred by their local authorities in England.

 When the level of support to families is felt to be likely to require some therapeutic or more complex intervention Families for Children will support families to make an application to the relevant local authority, which includes applications to the Adoption Support Fund through the relevant Regional Adoption Agency.  To access the fund families need to have a holistic assessment of their support needs completed.  Families for Children will contribute to the assessment of the family’s needs, attend multi-agency meetings with parents and/or the child where appropriate and liaise with other agencies including school or current therapists.

Funding Adoption Support

Where Adoption support services are not statutory or funded through our fundraising efforts it can be funded in several ways;

Adoption Support Fund
The Adoption Support Fund (ASGSF) was established to help pay for essential therapeutic services for adoptive families. The ASGSF is available for children up to and including the age of 21 (or 25 with a SEN Statement/EHC Plan) who have been adopted from Local Authority care in England or adopted from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland but living in England.
To access the ASGSF you will need to have an holistic assessment of your families’ adoption support needs. This assessment can be carried out by us. Each child is entitled to a full assessment of therapeutic needs of £2,500 per year and £5,000 per year per child can fund therapies.

Pupil Premium
Pupil Premium and Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is available to state funded schools to help with extra support for adopted children.
Early Years Pupil Premium and Pupil Premium provides funding to help schools give extra support to all adopted children to help them reach their potential.

Self Funding
Alternatively to the above you can self-fund our support services even if you haven’t adopted through us. You can purchase support intervention, one to one counselling with a youth worker or for us to provide a bespoke support package. Please contact us for more details.

Families for children adoption agency in Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly