CVAA responds to the Secretary of State’s announcement in National Adoption Week The Department for Education’s press release on the Secretary of State’s announcement can be found on our website and on the DfE’s website. CVAA welcomes the Secretary of State’s announcement in National Adoption Week on the continuation of the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) in England. The ASF has provided vital support to over 40,000 adoptive and special guardian families and their children since 2015. The long-term evaluation of the ASF, published in July 2019, found that therapeutic support funded by the ASF improved adopted children’s mental health as well as family functioning. Adoptive parents greatly improved their understanding of their children’s needs and felt increased confidence in caring for their children, and 81% of parents felt that the support their family had received through the ASF had been beneficial for their children. However, the report also found that, ‘despite positivity about the benefits of the [ASF] and modest, sustained improvements in outcomes, the levels of difficulties faced within the families of survey respondents remained very high.’ The suggestions made by survey respondents included broadening the ASF to cover other types of support and coordinating the ASF with education services. July 2019 also saw the publication of Investing in Families, the report of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Adoption and Permanence. The APPG report made a number of recommendations with regards to the structure and administration of the ASF which have yet to be taken up. CVAA will continue to work with the Department and other stakeholders to achieve an ASF that is timely, effective, comprehensive, and improves outcomes for children and families. CVAA also welcomes the announcement of the £650,000 that the DfE has invested in adopter recruitment. We, along with other voluntary organisations, are pleased to be playing an active part in the national cross-sector steering group which is overseeing this funding and driving this work. The steering group has already successfully collaborated with The Guardian on a series of myth-busting articles about adoption, and we look forward to continuing to work with colleagues across the adoption system to find families and reduce the time that children wait to be adopted. Maggie Jones, CEO of CVAA, said: "VAAs are working hard every week, and especially this National Adoption Week, to reach out to local communities and find forever families for children who have had some very difficult starts in life. Our members know that the availability of high-quality adoption support services is a critical part of the adoption journey, so the announcement this week that the ASF will continue into 2021 is a welcome one. I am also looking forward to continuing CVAA’s work with the national cross-sector steering group on adopter recruitment. The children that VAAs place are often the ones who wait the longest, and it is critical that we continue to see government investment in this area."