Adoption is a lifelong experience and we’re there for you and the child right from the start and into the future.
Adoptive families often need support at the start of their new life together as well as later on. There may be times when you need specialist practical and therapeutic support, to help you and your child understand their history and the impact their early experiences may have on your daily lives.
The Permanence Support Team offers a range of support to adoptive families in the ATV area, and sometimes further afield. Support for adoptive families is the responsibility of the placing authority (i.e. the area where your child lived before you adopted them) for the first three years after the Adoption Order is made. After three years, the responsibility is that of the local authority where you live now.
We provide support to adoptive families in the following ways:
- Front Door – The ATV Permanence Support Team front door is the main point of contact for everyone contacting our team. Front Door operates every week day except Bank Holidays from 8:30-5 (8:30-4 on Fridays). Front Door can provide information about our services as well as connecting you to the Helpdesk, Social Worker or ATV service that you need. To contact the Front Door please call 01865 323121 or email ATV.PermanenceSupport@oxfordshire.gov.uk
- Mailing List – We use a mailing list to keep subscribers up to date with events across the ATV area. We only send out a small number of emails each year, letting you know about upcoming social and training events. If you would like to join the mailing list please email ATV.PermanenceSupport@oxfordshire.gov.uk with the subject line Join Mailing List and ask to be added.
- Helpdesk Contacting Helpdesk is the first step to accessing support from the Permanence Support team. The Helpdesk is operated by Social Workers who can offer specialist information, advice and support over the phone. They can answer your questions and talk through any issues that you are experiencing, providing advice and signposting. Helpdesk operates on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday between 10am and 4pm, and on Friday between 10am and 3pm. We aim to respond to all enquiries within 5 helpdesk days.
If you would like to access the Helpdesk, please contact the Front Door who will take some basic information about your inquiry and arrange for a Social Worker to contact you. Email ATV.PermanenceSupport@oxfordshire.gov.uk or call 01865 323121
- Assessment In more complex situations we may allocate a social worker to fully assess your family’s needs and put together a support plan which may include longer term support from the Permanence Support Team. If this is the support you feel you need, we ask that you contact the Helpdesk to talk through your situation, so that we can ensure we are providing the right service for you and your family.
- Financial Assistance – The provision of any financial support for adoptive families, including allowances or one-off payments, are the responsibility of the placing authority (where the child lived before they were adopted). This support should be agreed at the point of placement and be reviewed by the same local authority if/when needed. If a family wishes to request new financial support ATV workers may be able to signpost or support with this but the local authority will always have the responsibility to agree and provide this and to do any means testing necessary.
- Contact – There are a number of ways in which the Permanence Support Team can support with contact in adoptive families. We operate the Letterbox service, supervising written correspondence between adopters and birth relatives. For more information on Letterbox, please visit the Letterbox page on this website. In some cases, we may support with contact in other ways, such as supporting young people approaching adulthood to consider whether contact with birth relatives is right for them, or supporting with reviews if you feel that current contact arrangements no longer suit your family. If you are considering these services, please contact the Helpdesk to discuss your situation further with a Social Worker.
- Adoption Support Fund –The Adoption Support Fund provides funding to meet the therapeutic needs of adopted children up to and including the age of 21 (25 if the child remains in education or training with a current, annually reviewed EHCP). This fund comes from national government and is currently guaranteed until March 2025. If you feel that this may be something that your child would benefit from accessing, the first step is for a Permanence Support Team Social Worker to complete an assessment of need. They would then be able to discuss therapeutic options, find suitable therapists and apply for funding. Please contact the Helpdesk to discuss your situation further with a Social Worker.
- Catch Hub – Adopt Thames Valley Permanence Support Team pays for a number of licences for our adopters to access PACT’s online hub, the Catch Hub. The Hub provides specialist information and support from both experienced adopters and experts in areas of child development and psychology, running webinars to help you understand some of the challenges of parenting adopted children. Users also have access to forums with other adopters, as well as information and advice which can be passed on to schools. If you are interested in getting access to the Hub, please contact the Helpdesk.
- Training – Before adopting with ATV, all adopters go through preparation training and workshops, but the support for adoptive parents doesn’t end when you are matched with your child. We are committed to helping you find the approaches which will work for you and your child as they grow and develop.
The Permanence Support Team runs and commissions a number of courses and workshops for adoptive parents to help you to understand and manage some of the common challenges of parenting adopted children. Topics covered in courses we are currently running include building attachment between you and your child, managing anger and other strong feelings your child is showing, building structure and routine at home in a way your child can manage, and parenting using a PACE approach. These are run in rotation across the ATV area. Full information about upcoming courses and workshops are advertised via the mailing list. If you would like to join the mailing list please email ATV.PermanenceSupport@oxfordshire.gov.uk with the subject line Join Mailing List and ask to be added. If you are unsure whether a course is the right fit for you, please call the Helpdesk to discuss your needs further.
- Social Events – The Permanence Support Team also runs a number of social events for Adoptive families in the ATV area. You don’t have to be accessing other support from us to come to these events, all families with an adopted child are welcome to attend. We run an adopter picnic every year, which is a great chance to meet other adoptive families without having a particular agenda: they are just a chance for you and your children to have some fun! Upcoming events are publicised through the mailing list. If you would like to join the mailing list please email ATV.PermanenceSupport@oxfordshire.gov.uk with the subject line Join Mailing List and ask to be added.
For more information about any of the services above, please call 01856 323121.
Please remember to check that you are eligible for ATV services before contacting us. If you live within Oxfordshire, Swindon, Reading, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Bracknell, West Berks or Wokingham (the ATV area) you are eligible for ATV Permanence Support Team services if your child was placed by one of those local authorities within the past three years, or if you live here and your child’s Adoption Order was made by another local authority more than three years ago. If you are not sure you are eligible then the Helpdesk can help you with this.
Support for all affected by adoption
The Permanence Support Team run a helpdesk, where a social worker will be available to talk to adoptive parents and special guardians. You can contact us either by telephone, email or by writing to us. The adoption helpdesk is there to help us help you.
Call 01865 897981
If only a simple, one-off service is needed, this may be provided without a formal adoption support plan being drawn up. If, following assessment, there is a need for ongoing adoption support, we will draw up a plan of what services we propose to offer. The plan will be reviewed periodically.
Course costs are met by Adopt Thames Valley for adopters approved by us and/or for adopters resident in Oxfordshire where their children were adopted more than three years ago. View information of the training we offer.