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A Message From Our CEO

2017 has provided challenges to adoption support agencies, of which PAC-UK is the largest. Many adopters tell us that the Fair Access Limit of £5k is resulting in them not being able to access the therapeutic service they need, and some are telling us of delays in having funding agreed.

I am working with others in the sector to find ways of tackling this. Despite these issues, the Adoption Support Fund has been successful in helping over 22,000 children across the country. There is still progress to be made and we’re committed to ensuring continuous support is available through peer consultation and specialist intervention. PAC-UK’s services, whilst being available through the ASF, can also be accessed directly by families making contact with us.

Our services continue to grow and develop as we strengthen our ongoing relationship with Adoption UK. Our Education Service has released a number of new publications and services for parents and educational professionals including our book, Becoming an Adoption-Friendly School, and A Good Practice Guide for Schools - Understanding and Meeting the Needs of Children who are Looked After, Fostered, Adopted or otherwise Permanently Placed, which has sold over 4,000 copies to date.

I remain concerned that the newly forming Regional Adoption Agencies prioritise services to all affected by adoption as we are seeing in some areas of the country a potential downsizing of provision, particularly to birth parents and adults adopted as children. As a member of the Adoption Leadership Board, I am actively promoting the expansion of such services rather than their reduction; I will keep readers informed. Our 2017/18 training programme has been expanded with new and returning courses, including a four-day Theraplay and Marshak Interaction Method course in Leeds, and a Non Violent Resistance (NVR) workshop in London. We’ve also included additional training sessions for social workers to aid assessments for therapeutic parenting, and conducted our first Birth Parent Summit in Leeds in association with After Adoption, discussing best practice and bringing their needs to the attention of policy makers.

We have been lucky enough to receive outstanding support from a number of charitable organisations and businesses this year including Lendlease, who have donated £5,000 after a recommendation from an employee. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Great North Run runners for their fantastic efforts this weekend, finishing in good time despite the poor weather conditions. I am also happy to announce that PAC-UK has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Adoption Practice category in the upcoming National Adoption Week awards, hosted by First4Adoption. You can find out more about the awards here

The testimonials of our service users are paramount to ensure PAC-UK has a voice in the community; reaching as many adoptive and birth parents, Special Guardians and adopted adults and children as possible. We’re thrilled to hear from those who have accessed our services – attending workshops, meeting with our counsellors – to understand in greater detail what impact it has had on their relationship with partners and children. Our new case study portal showcases some of the powerful stories we have been privy to, and we encourage others share their experiences too. We at PAC-UK will keep you up to date with the latest news through our website www.pac-uk.org, Facebook and Twitter.

Peter Sandiford, CEO of PAC-UK
Invitation: Introductory Theraplay and Marshak Interaction Method (MIM) Training in Leeds

Training Programme

The workshop covers, self-esteem, enhances attachment and trust in others through joyful engagement.

It’s based on the natural interaction patterns between parent and child and aims to create an active and empathic connection between child and parents.

Theraplay is used in 28 countries and over 1,200 professionals from the UK have attended the training.

Run by Annie Kiermaier, LCSW, RN and Dr Petria Thoresen PhD the course lasts for four days for level 1 Theraplay training and Group Theraplay, including a one day course for parents and professionals.

For more information click here.
Find out more on:
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PAC-UK services
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How you can support PAC-UK
Adoption and government news
Frequently asked questions
Child to Parent Violence Project (CPV) - 8 Week Group Sessions for Adoptive Parents and Special Guardians

Adoptive parents and Special Guardians are invited to PAC-UK’s Child to Parent Violence (CPV) Programme.

The CPV programme is underpinned with Non Violent Resistance (NVR), self-care strategies and communication techniques and consists of an 8 week group followed by a 6 month local support group which will be running in both TEES VALLEY and LONDON, between September and November.

The groups are aimed at adopters and guardians of children and young people who are presenting challenging, destructive and violent child-to-parent behaviour.

Participants will learn how to take a firm stance against violence and find out how to increase their positive presence in a child’s life and how to de-escalate conflicts; they will also learn to break the cycle of silence and shame which surrounds child-to-parent violence, as well as how to make changes in their children for the long-term. The aim of the group is to reduce distress in both parents and children, in order to help them feel more in control in managing their relationships.

The Tees Valley workshops take place on Thursday mornings at Newport Community Settlement Hub, Middlesbrough. This group is part of a CPV Project funded by the Department for Education until March 2018 and is being offered for FREE to adoptive parents only.

Download the Tees Valley workshop flyer by clicking here and contact Jo Mitchell at jo@pac-uk.org for more information (incl. bookings).

The London workshops take place on Monday mornings at Wood Green Library, London. This group is open to adoptive parents and Special Guardians. Funding can be received via your Local Authority from the Adoption Support Fund.

You can book online NOW by clicking here. Contact Shannon O’Neill at shannon@pac-uk.org if you have any questions regarding the London workshops.

Places are strictly limited so early booking is strongly advised to avoid disappointment.

For further information about the CPV Project, or group workshops, please contact Jo Mitchell jo@pac-uk.org

Assessing Emotional Capacity in Prospective Adopters – a New PAC-UK Training for Social Workers

We all agree that adopted children need ‘therapeutic parents’, but what does that actually mean? This new one day training run by adoption counsellor and former adoption manager Fiona Start will explore some of the emotional components of therapeutic parenting, and how we might assess whether prospective adopters ‘have what it takes’. The day will particularly focus on assessing adopters’ attachment styles and the implications of adoptive parents’ problematic attachment issues when they become parents.

The training aims to help Social Workers get clearer about adult attachment and understand its implications for adopters and the children they adopt, increase confidence in working with the emotions, and get more out of the Stage 1 and 2 adoption assessment process to focus on prospective adopters’ emotional strengths and vulnerabilities, despite the constraints of timescales.

So far the training has been received positively by all social workers, and several Local Authorities have also commissioned the training to be delivered in house. There are a few spaces left in Leeds on Friday 10 November. For more information click here

Upcoming PAC-UK Training Events
Understanding the Impact of Trauma

9th October – London

Introduction to Theraplay

Understanding the Impact of Trauma is a workshop designed for social workers and other professionals working in adoption and permanency, adoptive parents and other permanent carers. The training is run by Dr Karen Treisman, Clinical Psychologist and Trainer.

The workshop will develop further knowledge and understanding about the early impact of trauma and disrupted attachment of children’s development.

This day offers something for everyone living or working with a child who has experienced trauma.

For more information click here

Parenting with PACE

2nd October, Leeds
21st November, London

The PACE workshop is focused on empathy and playfulness, acceptance and curiosity are the cornerstones for helping nurture a closers relationship with your child.

Dr Kim Golding will be presenting the workshop that is focused on her popular book “Creating Loving Attachments, Parenting with PACE to nurture Confidence and Security in the Troubled”.

It is aimed at adoptive parents and other permanent carers who would like to develop a deeper relationship with their child.

For more information click here

Education Service Update

PAC-UK’s Education Service has a number of exciting new publications and services for parents and education professionals to support with understanding and provide strategies for adopted and permanently placed children in education.

Our book, ‘Becoming an Adoption-Friendly School’ is now available via our website and is an essential resource for all those interested in the education of vulnerable children. Purchase of the book provides access to an online toolkit, a bank of resources, templates and policies to help schools on the way.

For bulk order enquiries please contact Lisa O'Callaghan by emailing lisao@pac-uk.org.

A Good Practice Guide for Schools - Understanding and Meeting the Needs of Children who are Looked After, Fostered, Adopted or otherwise Permanently Placed (which has sold over 4,000 copied to date!) is also available via our website.

PAC-UK and AUK Education Project - Working Together to Support Adoptive Families and Schools

The Department for Education is increasingly recognising the long term impact of trauma and loss for children who live in adoptive or Special Guardianship families.

As part of their investment in supporting adoptive families, the DfE has awarded a grant to PAC-UK and Adoption UK to develop and implement strategies with school staff, virtual schools, local authorities and adoptive families to improve the adoptive family’s school experience and therefore increase their child’s academic and personal success.

Our NEW Education Project webpage is now live!

Find out more about our Beacon School - 'Becoming an Adoption-Friendly School' course, community meetings and schools, early years and initial teacher training by clicking here.

For further enquiries about Education Project training, courses and community meetings please contact Lisa O'Callaghan by emailing lisao@pac-uk.org

PAC-UK Holds Birth Parent Summit
In July, PAC-UK held its first "Birth Parent Summit" in Leeds with After Adoption to work towards a vision of best practice in working with birth parents, and to bring their needs to the attention of policy makers. Professionals from both organisations, with years of experience between them, met to map out the birth parent journey and the crucial points at which supportive intervention could make a difference. Subsequent meetings will involve birth parents in discussion about future services and contribute towards the emerging RAAs offered to this group.

For more information contact Mike Hancock by emailing mike@pac-uk.org

PAC-UK Fundraising
PAC-UK Team Completes First Ever Great North Run!

On Sunday 10 September 2017, our team of runners made up of PAC-UK staff headed up to the North East to compete in the Great North Run! Participating in this event was a first for PAC-UK and our runners didn't disappoint, completing the gruelling 13.1 mile course from Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields in fantastic times!

The PAC-UK Team made up of Stuart Hannah (Child and Family Practice Manager), Tanya Killick (AT-iD Project Worker and Child and Family Worker) and Leon Elias (Operations Manager) set off from Leeds at 6.00am (!) to get to the start line in good time.

Despite the early start and lack of training (for some team members!) spirits were high. After what can only be described as a mad toilet dash, a frantic bag drop, some last minute stretching and a very impressive Red Arrows flypast our team were ready to go.

Tanya, odds-on favourite to finish first led the way, completing the course in just 2hrs 2mins 25secs. Leon (2hrs 15mins 36secs) and Stuart (2hrs 20mins) were next home.

It was a really inspiring day, so many stories of human resilience and spirit! Truly heart-warming to be involved and to be the first ever PAC-UK Team to compete in the Great North Run made it even more special for us. A massive thank you to everyone for all the messages of support and very generous donations, they really kept us going on the day when we felt like we were on our last legs!

- Stuart, Tanya and Leon

Don't forget you can still help us reach our £1,500 target by making a secure online donation here!

To see more pictures from the day visit our website

PAC-UK Receives Donation from Lendlease

PAC-UK are delighted to have received a generous £5,000 donation from charitable foundation, Lendlease, leading international property and infrastructure group.

We welcome the generosity of Lendlease and know if wouldn’t have been possible without the personal recommendation and nomination from one of their employees. As with many corporate firms, they often ask their employees to recommend a businesses to receive a charitable donation on their behalf.

If you would like to recommend us to your workplace, and require any help please get in touch as we would be more than happy to help you with your nomination letter.

We are very grateful for the donations we’ve received over the last three months from CHK Charities, The Hasluck Charitable Trust and The Vandervell Foundation.

We would like to extend our warmest gratitude to these charities for their generosity and support of our work.

Join PAC-UK's Regent Park 10k Team

PAC-UK is also looking for runners to join our team taking part in the Regent Park 10K, Sunday 12th November. If you would like more information or find out how to get involved please visit the Our Events page on the PAC-UK website or, email us at ganiyat@pac-uk.org.

Industry News
Department for Education Honours Commitment to the Adoption Support Fund

PAC-UK CEO Peter Sandiford comments on the DfE's 'Multi-million fund reaches record number of adoptive families' press release published on 2 August 2017:

"The Minister is right to acknowledge the success of the Fund. It has supported many. However I think there is still work to do to ensure support is provided to all at the right time and at the right level throughout each family’s adoption or Special Guardianship journey. PAC-UK is committed to working with others to ensure a continuum of therapeutic support is available from peer consultation to specialist intervention. — Peter Sandiford, PAC-UK CEO

The full DfE press release as well as supporting documentation is available on the PAC-UK website here

PAC-UK Service User Case Studies
Our Stories

We have launched a new section on our website where PAC-UK service users – adoptive parents, Special Guardians and birth parents – have shared their experiences of adoption and how PAC-UK has helped them overcome the challenges associated with it.

People like Richard and Sarah*, whose adopted children found the transition from primary to seconday school challenging as a result of increasing anxiety and pressure.

They were introduced to PAC-UK through the local authority, and through a series of therapeutic sessions have seen promising changes.

Sarah said: "The service that PAC-UK offers - the professionalism and knowledge that they have about the struggles experienced by adopted children - are second to none. Their input has helped our family grow alongside the education system that can be so challenging for our special children.”

We have set up this page to enable birth parents, adoptive parents or other permanent carers to share their stories, and hopefully help encourage others to seek support from PAC-UK.

To read more of Richard and Sarah’s story visit our website or to share your own, contact us here.

Current PAC-UK Vacancies
We have several vacancies at PAC-UK in both our London and Leeds offices. If you are interested in any of our positions then click on the links below; please note that we do not accept CV applications so use the application forms provided.

Education & Wellbeing Worker
Working Hours: 21 hours per week
Location: London office

Seasonal Schools Trainer - Tee Valley
Salary: £35 per hour, plus travel time and expenses
Working Hours: As and when required
Location: PAC-UK Leeds office and Tees Valley

Sessional Child & Family Arts Therapist/Psychotherapist/Psychologist
Salary: Circa £40-£50 per hour
Working hours: As and when required
Location: London, Yorkshire, North East and Humberside

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