Recent News

  • 15th March 2016

    New research reveals public misconception about scale of abuse of children needing adoption

    New research undertaken by YouGov for Independent Adoption Agencies in England has revealed that people significantly underestimate the number of children in care and the reasons that result in them being removed for their own safety.Neglect and abuse are the primary reasons that adoption is decided on as the best placement option for a child, accounting for 70% of cases, but of those 2,000 people in the UK surveyed by YouGov, over three in five (61%) underestimated the significance of these factors.The research which was carried out to coincide with the first ever Big Adoption Day run by independent adoption agencies in England also showed that most people (24%) surveyed underestimated the number of children adopted last year, putting the figure at 2,500 children rather than at the actual 5,000.And, when given a list of the reasons why children are taken into care, two in five (43%) believed that having no parents to provide for the child would be one of the top three reasons when it is in fact one of the least common – the most common being neglect and abuse.Adoption has changed significantly over the past twenty years, as have the children who wait to be adopted.  They are primarily not “orphans” nor children placed for adoption because of societal pressure on their unmarried mothers.  Children are taken into care primarily because, sadly and for various reasons, they are not safe at home.  For some children where there is no realistic chance of returning home and being cared for safely, adoption is decided by the courts to be the best option for their long term stability and security.There is a continuing strong need for children to be adopted and to identify adopters who can help them to recover from their early experiences.   Independent Adoption Agencies have a successful track record of bringing together children waiting to be adopted with adoptive parents and helping the new family bond.  We are looking for parents who can understand and appreciate the challenges that so many of these children have experienced in their lives and provide the love and security children need in order to recover and form strong and healthy relationships and that children who have been adopted in the past tell us made all the difference to their livesOn the 16th March, there will be over 30 Big Adoption Day events across England, where prospective adopters attending will have the opportunity to meet adoption experts in an informal and friendly environment and further information can be found at First4adoption.org.uk/bigadoptiondayevents.  As well as being able to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the adoption process, potential adopters will also have an opportunity to find out more about the support services offered by each agency to help families bond and find out more about the needs of children who are waiting to be adopted.

  • 07th March 2016

    PACT calling for more LGBT adopters during LGBT Adoption Week 2016

    Parents And Children Together (PACT) is calling for more prospective parents to come forward during LGBT Adoption and Fostering week (7th – 13th March 2016).In 2015, 1 in 12 children England were adopted by same-sex couples. PACT actively recruits LGBT adopters in London and the South and 11% of those adopting with PACT in 2015 were LGBT.PACT LGBT adopter Amy* said: “In reality there was no prejudice regarding my sexuality. Don’t worry – children need loving parents, whether they are single or couples.  LGBT parents and children help form the diversity of life and make for inclusive families.”  PACT is particularly looking for adopters for ‘priority children’ who have been waiting the longest for their forever family. These children can be over four years old, in sibling groups of two or three, of black and minority ethnic background or have complex needs.PACT is holding an information event at it’s Brighton office on Monday 7th March. A PACT LGBT adopter will share their story and there will also be a presentation from a PACT social worker and an opportunity to ask questions informally.LGBT Adoption and Fostering week is organised by New Family Social, a charity that supports LGBT adopters and foster carers.PACT Director of Adoption Shirley Elliott said: “We are proud to be a member of New Family Social and delighted to be a part of LGBT adoption week. All of our LGBT adopters receive free membership to New Family Social.”“We know from experience that LGBT people often come to adoption with an open mind and real enthusiasm. There are very few barriers to adoption so I would urge anyone thinking about it to speak to us, download an information pack or come along to an event to find out more.”To find out more about adopting with PACT, visit http://pactcharity.org/adoption/about-adoption/lgbt

  • 04th March 2016

    A happier Mother’s Day for mums moving on after domestic abuse

    Parents And Children Together (PACT) is wishing a happy Mother’s Day to all the mums it has supported this year through it’s community projects.As well as being an independent adoption agency, PACT runs Alana House helping vulnerable women and Bounce Back 4 Kids (BB4K) helping families in West Berkshire and Oxfordshire affected by domestic abuse.One Mum helped by BB4K this year is Mandy*. Three years ago, after going to a refuge as a victim of domestic abuse, Mandy’s three sons were taken into foster care.Mandy worked hard with her social worker to turn her situation around and she and her youngest two sons were identified for a BB4K course. A BB4K course takes 10 weeks and uses therapeutic techniques to help children and their non-abusing parent come to terms with family breakdown. A children’s course and a parent’s course run simultaneously.Mandy’s sons have been back living with her for six months now and they completed the course in January 2016. She says: “Mother’s Day this year will definitely, absolutely be different to previous years.”“I have definitely seen an improvement down to BB4K. Their behaviour has improved, their emotional levels are down. At home the boys have learnt tools for if they feel anxious; they take themselves off and breathe. We have more understanding of each other.” ou can help transform Mother’s Day next year for a Mum affected by domestic abuse by volunteering to help with BB4K or making a donation towards its work. Find out more here.

  • 02nd March 2016

    PACT to cease intercountry adoption services

    Parents And Children Together (PACT) has made the difficult decision to withdraw from its intercountry adoption services from 1st April 2016.In light of the need for PACT to focus on its role within the Regionalisation Adoption Agenda and the current climate within intercountry adoption, PACT will sadly not be renewing contracts, with any local authority, when those in force end on 31 March 2016.PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “PACT provides intercountry adoption services for 40 local authorities in the south and has helped hundreds of families over the years adopt children from overseas. It is with regret that we have made the difficult decision to withdraw from providing these services.“Adopting from overseas has become increasingly complex and, although PACT has become a specialist in this area, it has become necessary for us to focus all our efforts on developing a regional adoption agency alongside our partners from local authorities to help find more adoptive families for children in the UK.”

  • 08th February 2016

    Adoptive families needed for two special boys

    ‘OUTSTANDING’ rated adoption charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) is searching for two adoptive families for Alan* aged two and David* aged four.PACT is looking for separate home for the boys under the It’s All About Me (IAAM) scheme which means they will receive specialist therapeutic support tailored to their needs, if it is identified as necessary. The scheme encourages families to come forward and adopt children who have been waiting the longest.PACT IAAM Manager Amanda Davies said: “Both of these boys have so much to offer their forever families and will be incredibly rewarding to care for.“Alan is a very endearing little boy who loves cuddles. He has some language delay and needs a family who can encourage his language skills alongside a Speech and Language Therapist.“David loves working hard at school and is making good progress. He thrives under praise given to him and needs a family who are committed to further progressing his development.“We welcome couples and single people to come and find out about adoption and how they could change the lives of children like Alan and David.”All children waiting to be adopted through the IAAM scheme have a comprehensive assessment by the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) Child Care Assessment Centre.Families adopting under IAAM are given a range of interventions geared to supporting adoptive parents, including training in therapeutic parenting tailored to the specific needs of the child and 24-hour support during the first two years after adoption to reduce the risk of placement breakdown.To find out more about Alan and David please visit www.pactcharity.org/iaam or contact Amanda Davies at amanda.davies@pactcharity.org.* Names have been changed to protect identities.

  • 18th January 2016

    PACT receives over £7000 from charity partnership

    A CHARITY partnership with accountancy firm Grant Thornton has resulted in a donation to PACT of £7279.08. Staff at Grant Thornton ran various fundraising events throughout the year including sweepstakes, a Christmas jumper day and a world record charity row.PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick said: “We have really enjoyed our partnership with Grant Thornton for the last 18 months and would like to sincerely thank all of their staff for choosing us and for taking part in a whole host of different fundraising activities for PACT. Their efforts will directly benefit many adopted children and their families who need therapeutic support to address painful past experiences and move forward to a happy life together.”Tash Pettiford-White, Executive Assistant at Grant Thornton’s Thames Valley Office said: “We really enjoyed our partnership with PACT.  It was definitely a two-way thing. They supported us with lots of ideas and encouragement and made it easy for us to come up with ways to fundraise.“Our teams were happy to get involved and collaborate in fun fundraising activities.  I’d definitely encourage other companies to enter into a charity partnership with PACT – it was a brilliant experience!”Pictured receiving the cheque (left to right) are Jackie Reeves, PACT Adopter Champion, Emma Owen, PACT’s Head of Fundraising and Marketing and Jim Rogers, Practice Leader, Thames Valley, Grant Thornton UK LLP.See more about Grant Thornton here.If you’re interested in raising some money for PACT at your workplace, at a one off event or through a charity of the year partnership please contact Laura Senior, Fundraising Manager at PACT (laura.senior@pactcharity.org). 

  • 08th January 2016

    Deadline for adopters to help schools claim extra funding

    All state funded schools in England can claim £1900 per year for every child adopted from care or placed from care with a Guardian. This funding is to improve the educational and personal outcomes for pupils, including (but not limited to) their attainment.The money is paid directly to the school who should assess along with the parents of the child what additional provision their pupils may need and how to spend the money e.g. extra tuition, training for teachers, equipment.  Schools must report on what the money has been spent on and the progress made by these pupils.In order for your child’s school to claim the Pupil Premium, you will need to inform them of your child’s status and provide supporting evidence (e.g. copy of an adoption certificate) before the school completes it’s Spring Census on January 21st 2016.Find our more about Pupil Premium here.

  • 24th December 2015

    Christmas Opening Hours

    PACT offices in Reading, Oxford, London and Brighton will be closed for Christmas from 12pm on 24th December until 8.30am on Monday 4th January.If you are a PACT family and need to speak to a PACT team member urgently, please call our emergency out-of-hours contact number 07787 834871.If you are interested in adoption, our enquiries line will re-open on Monday 4th January or you can email enquiries@pactcharity.org and leave a message. Alternatively you can find out about adoption on our website here, where you can also find out dates for information events and download an information pack.Alana House will be open for drop-in on Tuesday 29th December and Wednesday 30th December between 10am and 12.30pm.Wishing all our PACT families, supporters and friends a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  • 11th November 2015

    Funding threat for service for vulnerable women in West Berkshire

    AN AWARD-winning community project for vulnerable women in West Berkshire is at risk of closure following a proposal to cut its funding.Alana House, which is run by the charity Parents And Children Together (PACT), launched its service in West Berkshire in 2014 and runs it as a satellite service from its similar project in Reading.The project provides holistic support for vulnerable women with complex needs and helps them to make positive life changes and develop new skills.West Berkshire Council has funded the service since it started with a Public Health grant from the Government. The council needs to make £11m savings in 2016/17 and is proposing that Alana House West Berkshire is one of the projects it withdraws funding from.PACT’s Head of Communities Development Natausha van Vliet said: “We have worked with more than 50 vulnerable women since we launched our service in West Berkshire last year.“These women have complex lifestyles or may be at risk of offending and, with our unique package of support, we have seen many of them make positive life changes.”She added: “We have enjoyed working in partnership with West Berkshire Public Health to set up this service and would be devastated if the project had to close due to the loss of their funding. The impact will be huge for some of the most vulnerable women in West Berkshire.”One of the women who has used the service at Alana House West Berkshire explained how it had made a difference to her life: “With the debt I was in and Christmas coming up I didn’t know what to do.“My Alana House support worker encouraged me and took me to a debt agency, who have started arranging repayment plans. Then Alana House gave me and my children Christmas presents and a food parcel! I honestly don’t know what I would have done otherwise.”Another woman, Maria, said: “Alana House is all women and no men so all of us are in the same situation and we can talk freely about things like drug and alcohol problems and violent relationships without feeling intimidated. I’ve gone to workshops and had one to one sessions.“I had debt issues so Alana House helped me make payment plans so that the bailiffs didn’t come. My support worker visited me at home too. I’ve been on day trips with other women as well. I’m computer illiterate but next week I’m starting an IT course here.“Without Alana House I’d most probably be in prison. Before it was like I was drowning, I couldn’t breathe but Alana House helped me swim, they saved me. I’m not on probation anymore but I still come to Alana House.”West Berkshire Council is undertaking a consultation on the proposed funding cuts and would like to hear the views of people affected. Take part in the consultation at: http://info.westberks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=31665In 2014 Alana House won The Howard League for Penal Reform Award in the Community Programme for Women category. To find out more about Alana House visit www.alanahouse.org.PACT supports vulnerable families through outstanding adoption services, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects in London and the south.

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