PAC-UK Newsletter
A message from our CEO
The environment in which we are working has developed dramatically over the last twelve months and further changes are likely. I very much welcome the Government’s commitment to support adoptive families but believe that there is much more to be done, not least in looking at how birth parents who lose children are worked with so that they can play a positive role in their adopted child’s life, and indeed how they might keep subsequent children.

We are witnessing changes in legislation that will ensure local authorities and courts give greater priority to the quality of care a child will need in order to recover from abuse and neglect.
The Government has pledged to invest £200m to support a programme of reform which will include the development of new Regional Adoption Agencies to improve and accelerate recruitment, matching and adoption support. It will also increase the Adoption Support Fund every year over the next four years, whilst widening the scope so families can receive support from the moment children are placed with them, rather than having to wait until the adoption order is finalised.

While the next four years look hopeful for existing and prospective adopters, there needs to be an open discussion about the future of the Adoption Support Fund following the current Administration’s end of tenure in 2020, to determine what measures we can put in place to ensure the provision is available for years to come. A collaborative project that PAC-UK has led on may indeed contribute to this.

The Consortium of Adoption Support Agencies (including PAC-UK and Adoption UK) has been successful in securing funding from the Big Lottery Fund to explore the feasibility of how social investment might contribute to the development of a sustainable funding platform for adoption support into the future thereby improving outcomes and service resilience. The project is working with two English regions together with the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies and the Department for Education.

As a ‘realistically optimistic’ CEO, I would like to see PAC-UK be a leader in the shaping of the new adoption landscape, ensuring beneficiaries across the whole spectrum of our service delivery receive maximum benefit.

Peter Sandiford, CEO of PAC-UK

PAC-UK provides a range of services to parents, carers, guardians and professionals who care for looked after, adopted or otherwise permanently placed children in their care. To find out more about PAC-UK’s education, children and family, adult support and birth parent services click here.

Workshops on The Roadmap to Leaving Home and Living with a Child who Self-Harms
This year’s range of seminars and workshops are designed to provide adoptive and foster parents, and professionals with the skills and knowledge to help and support adopted or permanently-placed children.

Highlights include two workshops run by internationally renowned Counsellor and Speaker Holly Van Gulden and Psychotherapist Liz Blakey. Both sessions will provide parents, carers and professionals with the necessary tools to effectively cope with separation and self-harm. A synopsis of the sessions is below.
PAC-UK is hosting a number of events this year including the Brain Based Parenting: from Mistrust to Trust conference in partnership with Adoption UK, and Adoption: Living Life to the Full which is presented by PAC-UK in conjunction with the Big Lottery Grant. Read more about the upcoming conferences below.

Find out more information on PAC-UK's training programme on our website.
Find out more on:
PAC-UK staff and current vacancies
PAC-UK services
PAC-UK training
How you can support PAC-UK
Adoption and government news
Frequently asked questions

Preparing the Roadmap to Leave Home

17th March 2016

Children and young adults who have been separated from parents and/or significant caregivers in the past often relive the separation of leaving home in patterns to which they have become accustomed. This might mean leaving abruptly before they are ready, not maintaining connections or stretching the bond to breaking point.

Using the tools and concepts of object relations, this workshop - led by Counsellor and Speaker Holly Van Gulden and designed for parents and professionals - will discuss the dynamics and dilemmas of adolescent separation, offering techniques to help parents and young people ‘let go’ and stay connected.

Living with a Child that Self-Harms
(London and Leeds)

21st April 2016 (Leeds) and 28th April 2016 (London)

Self-harm is a broad term that can include cutting, burning, hair pulling, scratching and head banging. Understanding more about why a child or young person self-harms will enable you to provide the support and help they need.

This new workshop for parents and professionals is presented by Liz Blakey, a psychotherapist and adopted person herself. It will explore helpful responses to self-harm and strategies to manage the emotional impact such as harm minimisation, risk management and sources of support. Parents and professionals will gain a vital insight into the underlying feelings of distress that underpin self-harm.

Click here for more information

Click here for more information

PAC-UK Conferences

PAC-UK will be hosting a number of events this year that are aimed at providing adoptive parents, foster carers, social workers and other professionals with essential skills and knowledge to enable them to help adopted or permanently-placed children.

Of these events, highlights include two conferences due to take place in April and November 2016.

Brain Based Parenting: From Mistrust to Trust (Leeds)

Saturday 23rd April 2016

This conference is the first exciting collaboration between PAC-UK and Adoption UK and will be led by Clinical Psychologist Dan Hughes Ph.D. and Jon Baylin Ph.D. The event is aimed at adoptive parents and professionals to share the knowledge of Dan and Jon on a brain based approach to help children who have experienced neglect and trauma.

The conference will consider the concepts of blocked trust and blocked care and attendees will learn ways to support under-nurtured children and how to help children seek comfort and experience joy.

Click here for more information.

Adoption: Living Life to the Full. Presented by PAC-UK in conjunction with the Big Lottery Grant

Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th November 2016

Led by Peter Sandiford, CEO of PAC-UK, and Professor Gordon Harold from the Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice, this conference, which is funded by The Big Lottery, will celebrate adoption support services and the progress that has been made with the generous five-year grant given to PAC UK by The Big Lottery.

The conference will outline and explain the different therapeutic supports which are available in the UK to help adoptive and other permanent-placement families live life to the full.

There will be presentations from experts in the field, including Graham Music, Dr Matt Woolgar, Professor Julie Selwyn, Professor Jonathan Green, and Marie Higgins. More information will be available on our website as we near the conference.

If you would like any more information now please contact us here.

Industry News
1 in 12 Children Now Adopted by Same-Sex Couples

According to The Times, the adoption of children by gay and lesbian couples is becoming commonplace with one in twelve children now being placed with same-sex parents; a clear indication that attitudes towards adoption within the LGBT community are transforming.

Statistics gathered by New Family Social show a similar rise in the commonality of same-sex adoption. Their results found that as of 11th December 2015, there had been 1,825 adoptions by people belonging to the LGBT community in the UK since 2006. Statistics also revealed that the yearly number of adoptions among same-sex couples in the UK has soared over the last decade from just 90 in 2006/2007 to 490 in 2014/2015.

It is not just the UK that is showing progress when it comes to LGBT adoption rights. Just recently, Portugal’s parliament overturned the presidential veto on a bill to legalise same-sex adoption. President Anibal Cavaco Silva vetoed the same-sex adoption bill in January 2016, provoking criticism from human rights groups and politicians. Under the Portuguese constitution, the President will now be forced to sign the law before his term ends in March.

Joining Portugal and their progressive attitudes towards gay adoption rights is Colombia. In November last year, Colombia’s constitutional court lifted any restrictions on same-sex couples adopting children, giving same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples for adopting.

All these stats indicate a clear change in attitudes among the public and professionals towards same-sex adoption and one that seems set to continue to grow. However, despite the obvious progress, The Times found that many same-sex couples still fear that when it comes to adopting children, their sexuality will hinder them.

This revelation highlights the importance of raising awareness of and supporting same-sex adoption. From 7th – 13th March this year, New Family Social will be running its fifth LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week. The event is designed to celebrate the successes of LGBT adoptive parents and foster carers while also attracting and encouraging prospective LGBT parents and providing them with the information they need for their journey to parenthood. Ultimately, the week aims to urge the LGBT community to consider adoption and find more families for children by highlighting the benefits and reality of adoption and how it can transform lives.

Peter Sandiford, CEO of PAC-UK said: “In the UK we are making fantastic progress removing prejudice surrounding LGBT adoption and equality, which is evident in recent figures. However the work is not over and we need to encourage more same-sex couples to consider adoption and support them on their journey. Witnessing these legislative changes across Europe and South America shows a global recognition for LGBT rights; long may it continue.”

Thank you from PAC-UK

We would like to say a big thank you for all the support and donations we received last year. We raised a total of £37,610 in donations from private individuals, some of whom have been donating regularly for many years. These funds make an important contribution to improving and developing our services in the north and south.

Regular monthly or quarterly donations are particularly valuable to us as they enable us to plan ahead. For further information on how to donate regularly, visit our website.

Braving the Brighton Marathon
We are looking forward to participating in the Brighton Marathon this year on Sunday 17th April and have three runners already committed. They are each aiming to raise £1,000 in sponsorship.

All sponsorship money goes towards PAC-UK’s work. Please click here to show your support.

If you would like to challenge yourself for a brilliant cause and raise some sponsorship money for PAC-UK, then please contact us.
Ride to the Challenge with RideLondon-Surrey 100
On Sunday 31st July 2016, the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 will start in the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and follow a 100-mile route on closed roads through the capital and into the stunning countryside of Surrey. We have filled two of our three spaces for the 2016 ride and look forward to seeing how our team handles the leg-testing climbs.

If you would be interested in joining the PAC-UK cycling team for RideLondon-Surrey 100 then please email Please click here to show your support.
Running Rings around Regent’s Park
Each year, PAC-UK enters a team of runners for the Regent’s Park’s 10k run held in November with all money going directly to the charity. Last year was extremely successful, with PAC-UK runner Juho Lahdenpera finishing 19th of 312 with a time of 40:53 and the team together raising over £1,250.

We always welcome participants so if you are interested in running on behalf of PAC-UK to help us try and smash this year’s target then please email

For more information on upcoming events and how to get involved click here.
Current 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.

Child and Family Head of Service Manager (Leeds)
Salary: £39,632
Working Hours: Full time, 5 days per week
Location: Leeds, LS15

Sessional Child & Family Arts Therapist/Psychotherapist/Psychologist
Salary: Circa: £40 - 50 per clinical hour
Working hours: As and when required
Location: London, NW5

Sessional Schools Trainer
Salary: £35 per hour, plus travel time and expenses
Working hours: As and when required
Location: Leeds, LS15 with travel across the Yorkshire & Humber region
If you no longer want to receive emails from PAC-UK you can unsubscribe.