PAC-UK Newsletter
A message from our CEO
Adoption remains high on the government agenda, and in the last few weeks we have seen the introduction of the Children and Social Work Bill as declared during the Queen’s Speech, which builds on announcements previously made.

We are excited to see the potential impact of including adoption and other forms of permanency in the remit for virtual schools and the commitment to have designated teachers in all schools across the UK. Following the success of our Education Project with the Yorkshire and Humber Consortium, it is good to see that these lessons are now contributing to the potential development of provision for adopted children throughout the country.
The last few months has also seen the building of a relationship between PAC-UK and Adoption UK, which culminated in the Brain-Based Parenting conference that took place in Leeds in April. The event was the first exciting collaboration between PAC-UK and Adoption UK, and we look forward to further opportunities to work with Adoption UK on meeting the support needs of adoptive families.

With the Children and Social Work Bill, the emphasis on adoption has been widened to include other forms of permanency including Special Guardianship. PAC-UK will be exploring new ways to expand its services to support the needs of families that provide permanent placements, building on the extremely successful parenting programme, provided in partnership with Grandparents Plus. The training course - which has been adapted from the Enhancing Adoptive Parenting programme – is designed to help grandparents and other family carers manage behaviours that children living in kinship care may present.

This year, PAC-UK produced a film in collaboration with the Yorkshire and Humber Consortium that looks at the consequences of adoption as told by birth parents, social workers and adoptive families in Leeds. The video, Your Path to Adoption: Birth Families, provides an insight into the impact of a child being removed from the perspective of the birth parents and how this may influence an adopted child’s behaviour. I’d like to thank all those who contributed their knowledge and experience to the film.

The adoption and permanency journey impacts on so many people. My hope, indeed my expectation, is that PAC-UK will continue to influence change and provide services across an even wider area thereby growing the number of people who benefit from our services.

Peter Sandiford, CEO of PAC-UK

Reminder to Attend - Adoption: Living Life to the Full

We would like to remind everyone that our Big Lottery Fund conference is taking place on Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th November.

It will be led by Peter Sandiford, CEO of PAC-UK, and Professor Gordon Harold from the Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice.

We will be celebrating adoption support services and the progress that PAC-UK has been able to make with the generous five-year grant from The Big Lottery.

The day and a half long event will see leading experts present the most recent research and developments as well as information about the practical support now available to families, including an opportunity to hear from families who are living life to the full and how they did it.

Attendees are invited to join us on Day One or Day Two (or both). For more information visit our website or contact us here.

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
The unofficial guide to adoptive parenting

15th June 2016

Award winning author and adoptive parent Sally Donovan is providing a workshop based around her popular book “The Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting”. Sally will talk about her experiences in a refreshing and honest way, touching on lessons that were hard earned. She will explore being more mindful of how children might see the world and share some strategies and tips of what this might look like in daily life.

The day will be packed with practical ideas and tips on many aspects of adoptive parenting, such as developing routines, navigating festivals and celebrations and approaches to challenging behaviours. There will be emphasis on self-care and acknowledgement that therapeutic parenting has to take place within the messy, domestic landscape that many of us inhabit. Delegates will have the opportunity to think about current challenges and put together a toolbox of techniques.

Bruised from birth - supporting children with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (Leeds)

15th June 2016

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a range of disabilities, both physical and mental to a child.

This new workshop, delivered by Susan Fleisher, renowned expert and advisor on Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), will provide valuable information to both parents and professionals who are supporting children with FAS/FASD.

Susan will offer practical advice and techniques to inspire and motivate a positive approach to FAS/FASD.

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are a spectrum of disabilities and physical and mental disorders caused by alcohol exposure during pregnancy. Many people are unaware that drinking alcohol when pregnant can cause permanent brain damage in their baby.

Click here for more information

Click here for more information

PAC-UK Conferences
Brain-Based Parenting Conference: A Resounding Success

The PAC-UK and Adoption UK Brain Based Parenting conference, which took place in Leeds in April, was, by all accounts, a resounding success.

The conference was the first exciting collaboration between PAC-UK and Adoption UK and led by celebrated Clinical Psychologists Dan Hughes Ph.D. and Jon Baylin Ph.D.

Over 300 delegates, including adoptive parents and professionals, attended for the opportunity to hear presentations and receive hands-on training on a
brain based approach to help children who have experienced neglect and trauma. Dan provided a lot of examples of his attachment-parenting model PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy) in practice, while Jon effectively described the effects of trauma on brain development.

We have received fantastic feedback from the event with most delegates giving the conference full marks in terms of usefulness and understanding. The event’s speakers received a considerable amount of praise from delegates on social media with over 300 likes, re-tweets, posts and comments using #BrainBasedParenting. One happy attendee said: “Amazing conference today with Dan Hughes & Jon Baylin; so much to think about. Thank you PACUKadoption & AdoptionUK for making this happen”.

Becoming Adoption Friendly Schools: Reflections on the Journey

PAC-UK and the Yorkshire & Humber Consortium recently celebrated the end of their year-long educational project with an event held at the Civic Hall in Leeds.

The project was focused on improving the educational experiences of adopted children and those who live with special guardians. It was a collaboration that offered intense support for 45 families and schools in 15 authorities across the region, funded by a DfE prospectus grant.

The event was attended by nearly 100 people including adoptive parents, school staff, and adoption and education professionals. During the day speakers shared their experiences of good practice supporting adopted children and every presenter acknowledged the excellent work of the PAC-UK education team in supporting families, schools and professionals. Nic Haughton, Consortium Manager, said 'education is very much on the agenda for all developing RAAs as part of improving adoption support'.

Naomi Oliver, Deputy Head and Inclusion Lead at Brampton Ellis Primary School, spoke about the importance of ‘changing hearts and minds around behaviour’ while Nicola Doyle, a representative from the DfE said the “pilot project is a massive success.”

In a pre-recorded message for the event, Edward Timpson, Minister of State for Children & Families said: "Yorkshire and the Humber is in many ways a trailblazer. You (PAC-UK and Yorkshire & Humber Consortium) represent what can be achieved through genuine working together and should be rightly proud of what you have achieved and hope that you will continue to build on the spirited success.

“I hope you’ll continue to build on your efforts and achievements, acting as a beacon of innovative practice for other regions to aspire to."

Helen Hoban, PAC-UK Education Service Practice Manager said: “The project has been an innovation in enabling adopted children to feel a real part of the school environment rather than so often being made to feel different.” Rebecca Wilkins, PAC-UK Education Service Practice Manager added “We would like to say a huge thank you to all those who attended and showed their support.”

PAC-UK's Education Service offers a range of services to enable schools, parents and guardians and education and social care professionals to meet the needs of permanently placed children.

Visit the Education Service page on the PAC-UK website here and our new Education Resources page here.

Taking a Closer Look at AT-iD

We would like to take this opportunity to showcase a service that has been commissioned by Being Family and is delivered by PAC-UK.

AT-iD (Adopted Teens Identity) Project is aimed at providing adopted teenagers, aged between 11 and 18 in the Yorkshire and Humberside area, with an online community that offers useful information and insight into the experiences of adopted teenagers.
Members of AT-iD have access to online forums, a rant line to call or text for advice and support and even the opportunity to attend activity days run by project workers who have both professional and personal experience of adoption.

Fittingly, the teenagers had considerable involvement in the process of designing the website, including working with a graphic designer and writing a selection of original content, including a section on their real life stories.

Recently, the AT-iD youth council has been involved in the regionalisation process, and the board has integrated their views into their work. The DfE is also about to publish a poster that will sit in staff areas in schools to promote adoptees' views on how to improve school life.

Last week the AT-iD youth council was invited to La Rosa Campsite by The Open Nest founder Amanda Boorman to thank the group for the great work they do and also to trial out the venue as a potential much larger activity day. Heather-Louise of Wild Intrigue ran a nature walk for the group and has written this fantastic blog which captures the day perfectly.

Tanya Killick, AT-iD Project Worker said: “AT-iD is a perfect way to provide adopted teenagers with the strong support system they need. Whether they just want to let off some steam after a bad day or are looking for some advice, AT-iD can provide teenagers with the support they need from those who are most qualified to do so.

“Giving adopted teenagers an outlet to connect with each other to share stories and experiences with others in similar situations is an invaluable tool and we are very proud that PAC-UK can be a part of this.”

Visit the AT-iD Project website for more information on upcoming events and how to get involved.

Thank you from PAC-UK

We would first like to say a big thank you for all the support and donations we received ahead of the Brighton Marathon on Sunday 17th April. We had a fantastic day and raised a total of £4,200 in donations. All of your sponsorships have gone towards helping us continue to improve and develop our services.

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.

Ride to the Challenge with RideLondon-Surrey 100

On Sunday 31 July 2016, Team PAC-UK will be competing in the Ride London-Surrey100 to raise money and awareness for PAC-UK.

We’re delighted to introduce our cyclists; Frank Smith, Juho Lahdenpera (pictured) and Martin Land.

You can sponsor our 2016 team on their Virgin Money Giving Page. Every penny you donate will contribute towards PAC-UK's vital work with adults, children and families affected by adoption and /or other forms of permanent care.

Your help will make a real difference to people struggling with the impact of a traumatic past. We really appreciate all your support and thank you for any donations!

An Evening of Music and Laughter with Simeon Wood

On Friday 30th September 2016 you are invited to an evening of music and laughter with Simeon Wood at Yorkshire Dance on behalf of PAC-UK’s Friends Group. The evening will be a wonderful blend of music from light classics, musicals, ballads & Celtic pieces interspersed with his infectious humour.

For more information and to book your concert tickets visit the PAC-UK Friends Group page.

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.

Empowering Adoptive Family Study

This study, consisting of an online survey, is about child and adolescent well-being in adoptive families, with the main purpose of evaluating how adoption, child’s pre-adoptive history, and family dynamics can best promote child and adolescent development and well-being.

For more information about the study please visit this blog or email

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.

Education & Wellbeing Worker
Salary: £32,254 - £35,404 (depending on experience)
Working hours: 21 hours per week
Location: London NW5 & the South-East

Sessional Schools Trainer
Salary: £35 per hour, plus travel time and expenses
Working hours: As and when required
Location: London NW5 with travel across London and the South East

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

To help us achieve our vision PAC-UK is seeking to appoint new Trustees to strengthen and enhance the expertise of its Board, to ensure good governance in meeting our legal and financial obligations, and to work with the CEO and Leadership team in delivering our strategy and development.
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