Special Guardians and the Adoption Support Fund Since April 2016, Special Guardians can apply for the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) if they satisfy the eligibility criteria. What is the eligibility criteria? The Fund is available for children living in England up to and including the age of 21 (or 25 with an Education Health & Care Plan (formerly known as a Statement of Special Educational Needs)) who: are a looked-after child (LAC) immediately prior to a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) are struggling to cope and need support and/or the household needs support to help the child. How to apply to the Adoption Support Fund The local authority that places the child with you is responsible for assessing your need for support for up to three years. After that, it becomes the responsibility of the local authority where you live. As a first step you need to request an assessment for support. It is not always clear who you need to ask for an assessment. In some local authorities it will be the Adoption and Permanence Team, in other local authorities it will be the Family and Friends Care Designated Officer. You can ask the social worker who has worked with you to get the SGO for further information about who to ask for an assessment. Alternatively, you can request a copy of the local authority’s family & friends care policy, which should detail the name and contact details of a senior manager with overall management responsibility for family and friend carers – most local authority family & friend care policies can be found on line. The application process Where the assessment identifies that therapeutic services would be beneficial to your family, the local authority will apply to the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) on your behalf. The local authority social worker will be expected to talk to you about who can provide the types of service that you need and which provider you would prefer. Support Services available Support services identified will be put in place in order to achieve positive outcomes for you and your family. The ASF will pay for therapeutic services that are not currently provided by local authorities, including but not restricted to: therapeutic parenting training certain types of therapy, for example psychotherapy, play therapy, creative therapy extensive life story work specialist assessments where required. You can obtain further information about the fund here. If you have any further questions about the fund, please give our advice line a call on 0300 123 7015 and our advisers will be happy to help you.