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ASF = get-rich-quick scheme for snake oil merchants?

Furcifer April 22, 2022 20:28

Apologies for the controversial subject line but…

As a family, we’re having a hard time (long story short). So, I’ve been told about an NVR course run by an adoption-related agency in my region. It starts Monday, on Zoom, for 10 weeks and the cost is £5K. Coincidentally, the amount allocated per (non-Wales) child for therapies via the ASF. I mean, come on. A 10-week training course, delivered for two hours over the internet by a single trainer. How the f*** can that possibly be costed at £5K per candidate? Who the hell is accounting for all of this public money that is being spent (wasted - I wish there was a strike-through option, like on Mumsnet) on ridiculous therapies that simply do not improve the outcomes for adoptive families.

Am I the lone Grinch here or does anyone else think it’s a disgrace that agencies and therapy companies are getting rich on the back of our struggles - and not actually managing to make any positive difference?

I’m happy to be corrected if anyone has accessed helpful therapies for their families and I’d really appreciate a private message with the names of specialist therapists and companies - as my daughter has pretty much spent two years doing colouring sheets, chatting about her (non-existent) friends and being overloaded with sugary snacks and crap drinks (not very helpful when there’s a binge-eating disorder in the mix of diagnoses).

Safia April 22, 2022 20:53

I’m inclined to agree with you as I said on the other thread. We originally asked for ASF for the very specific specialist therapy my daughter needed and had been allocated bear funding. I immediately thought of the ASF - and people had said good things about how it had helped them - but they would not fund this therapy for some technical reason I can’t remember now. Eventually we got the funding through adult mental health. At some point later as she’d been bringing in her birth family which was a bit of a diversion for the therapy she was having so I looked into life story work and this was immediately accepted. It’s the standard provision which used to be provided by SS for free. The particular provider was recommended by our PASW. It seemed to be going well to start with then seemed to falter. We spent a lot of time playing games and doing “nurturing” activities such a feeding each other crisps. I had a funny suspicion this was working up to the end of the financial year so we could go over into a second. They got 2 years funding in total. Didn’t address the meat of the life story work - the emotional impact - eventually my daughter seemed to lose interest and began not attending and this was never discussed as an issue because they were paid anyway. She didn’t go to the last session and no attempt was made to have a proper ending. I feel that what she actually did that was helpful could have been done in about six sessions. And as I said before the woman also insisted on calling me Mum! She was very well qualified but I feel didn’t really engage us - it felt very superficial. My daughter is 26 and has learning difficulties but is quite insightful and really wanted to explore her past but I felt it was a very much “one size fits all approach.” and we were treated as a much younger child and mum much earlier on in the process of building a relationship

Sorry - another rant!

Edited 22/04/2022
Serrakunda27 April 22, 2022 23:11

Playing devils advocate, as we had very successful therapy funded by the ASF, I was more than happy with both therapists we had.

£5k over 20 hours works out at £250 an hour which is probably a very average consultancy rate, I suppose it depends on how many people are taking it up at any one time. Is there any access to support outside the formal training, do they provide materials?

If it works it will be good value for money, I guess you won’t know until you’ve tried it.

Safia April 23, 2022 14:10

Exactly Serrakunda if it’s helpful - as it’s been for many others - it’s invaluable. I guess for me there are two aspects - one that it seems there are a restricted number of therapies that get their support - and secondly that once granted the funding will be used on that whether useful or needed and that’s the bit that feels like jumping on the bandwagon - spinning it out till the funding is finished (potentially)

Serrakunda27 April 23, 2022 14:49

NVR itself though is now a very well established programme, many people have success with it.

Our life story work sounds very different to yours, I couldnt have seen an SW deliver it. Not a crisp in sight. He spent a lot of time building up trust and the relationship so they did play on the xbox a bit - but that’s what engaged my boy. Therapist came to our house so not an option for him to refuse, and we did get a substantial life story book at the end.

Donatella April 23, 2022 18:44

I’ve accessed NVR parent and facilitator training. The former as part of AUKs Parenting our Children 6 week course and the latter as a volunteer for a local charity. Think that was a 6 week course and was over zoom. I’ve found it really helpful.

I know that’s not quite your point - being in Wales the ASF doesn’t exist so accessing therapy can be a bit hit and miss. Having said that on the couple of occasions over the past 15 years or so that we’ve needed it and asked for it, we got exactly what I wanted. I made contact with the providers I wanted directly, talked everything through with them and went back to SS and told them this is what I want. It took a while to get it but I got there. Maybe that’s where having no ASF is advantageous? Fewer hurdles/restrictions?

chestnuttree April 23, 2022 20:02

I think they are taking the Mickey. My daughters both have weekly 1:1 therapy and that costs around £5K per YEAR including meetings with other professionals (eg. school) and me. If this is a course with several parents, they are maximising profits on the backs of needy families. Even if they provide resources, they will produce those once and not individually for each family. Plus, those resouces will most likely be very much like any book you could buy for £20. Will you get a personalised report at the end?

Pac-Uk offers a 10 week NVR course (1.5 hrs per week) for £1734 per person / £3201 per couple, which includes a follow up meeting and review meeting per participant/ couple. Unless this course offers something truly bespoke, I think their pricing is unreasonable. Maybe sign up for the PAC one instead?

If you spend the entire £5K on this 10 week course, you will have nothing left for any other support you might need and if you are having a hard time, that is an important consideration.

Furcifer April 24, 2022 21:43

@chestnuttree, it was a representative of PAC-UK who phoned me to tell me that their imminent NVR training course, delivered by an adopter and via Zoom, would cost £5K. Totally outing, but maybe a wake-up call? I really would hate to think that an organisation like PAC-UK would seek to exploit the parameters of the ASF but we live in interesting times, as they say.

chestnuttree April 25, 2022 00:14

That is strange indeed! How do they explain the price difference between your quote and the price given on their website?


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