What consideration has the Minister given to introducing a scheme in Wales similar to the Adoption Support Fund in England?
Improving adoption support is a high priority for the Welsh Government. We have taken our own distinct approach to planning and delivering it, suited to the needs, values and adoption infrastructure of Wales.
We provided funding to the National Adoption Service for the development of an evidence-based, strategic approach for the whole of Wales. The resultant Framework for Adoption Support has been in place since 2016 and sets out the “offer” in Wales for those affected by adoption. There are Universal services, which are available to everyone (and which it is estimated that some 70% of adoptive families require) and then Targeted Support and Specialist Support for those with the greatest needs (which it is estimated that some 30% of adoptive families require). Detailed information about the Framework and its current priorities is available at: https://www.adoptcymru.com/adoption-support
In 2018-19 we invested funding of £215,000 through the National Adoption Service to deliver key elements of the Framework. We further provided funding of £2.3m to the regions and the central team of the National Adoption Service in 2019-20, to help them to strengthen adoption support services and to enable them to provide specialist support and therapeutic services for those with the highest level of support needs. Since the establishment of the National Adoption Service we have invested significant sums in the Voluntary Adoption Agencies too, in particular through our Third Sector Grant Scheme; and we are investing 328,000 in the acclaimed new partnership approach “Adopting Together” which has been devised here in Wales. This is a ground-breaking method of finding adoptive families for those children who might otherwise wait the longest to be placed and supporting these families intensively prior to, and during the initial stages of, the placement.