This page lists PAC-UK staff profiles. Though split in to geographical teams, many staff work across regions and projects. You can use the hyperlinks at the top of this page or scroll down to view profiles - click on the 'Read More' bolded text or down arrow next to each listing to expand the profile text.
Senior Executives & Leadership Team
David Holmes CBE
Chief Executive. David has been CEO of Family Action since 2013 and was previously CEO of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering from 2006-2013. David has worked in health and social care since 1995, has been a Senior Civil Servant in two Government departments (Health and Education) and a Chief Officer Children’s Services in local government. David started his career as a solicitor in the City of London and currently Chairs two other charities – Children England and Naomi House. David was awarded a CBE for Services to Children and Families in the New Year Honours 2014 and won Chief Executive of the Year at the HR Distinction Awards 2016. David is supported by the Family Action Executive Group, comprising of Funke Fatunla (Director of Finance), Ricardo Gomes Da Silva (General Counsel and Director of Systems), Helen Cantrell (Director of Services and Innovation) and Anja Bailey (Director of Development and External Affairs).
National Clinical Lead. Pavlina manages services and supervises a team of counsellors who work with birth relatives, adopted adults, adopters, prospective adopters, special guardians and other permanent carers. Pavlina is registered with UKCP as a training member and has completed an MA in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies at the Tavistock Institute. Pavlina began specialising in the field of adoption over 17 years ago when she joined PAC-UK’s Child & Family Service. Pavlina has completed the Adoption Counselling Expertise (ACE) training at PAC-UK and is in the final stages of becoming a UKCP registered Adult Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist. She has previously worked in the fields of drug and alcohol services, family assessment and support, and services for young care leavers.
National Strategic Lead. Mike is Head of Adult Services (Leeds) at PAC-UK, supervising social workers and counsellors who work with birth relatives and adopted adults. Mike worked with contemporary birth parents for a number of years in Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Halifax seeing them at community bases and at home. He has run groups for these service users as well as presenting training for professionals around adoption issues. Mike has a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling and is an accredited member of the BACP.
National Service Lead. Jo is an experienced Child & Family Therapist and Social Worker who joined PAC-UK in 2016. Jo has also previously been a Head of Service (PAC-UK Child & Family Service North) and Adoption Manager. Jo holds a PGCert in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and has also trained as an EMDR Practitioner. Jo has completed further training in Developmental Dyadic Psychotherapy (DDP) with Dan Hughes, Dissociation with the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, Theraplayand MIM (Marschak Interaction Method) assessments as well as Systemic Family Therapy and NVR (Non Violent Resistance). Jo has been the National Lead for the DfE in developing a regional and national Child to Parent Violence Service. Jo has trained as a Parent Adviser delivering the Enhancing Adoptive Parenting Programme (EAP) as well as training professionals in EAP. Jo is a qualified Practice Teacher and NQSW Mentor/Supervisor. Jo enjoys working collaboratively with parents and extending support to include external and significant people important to the family. This has led to extensive work in schools where Jo has worked for several years with teaching and non-teaching staff to educate in attachment and developmental trauma theory as well as looking at creative ways to enhance the school experience for adopted children.
National Operational Lead. Since joining PAC-UK in 2011 Leon has worked in a variety of management roles. Based at our Family Action Head Office in London, Leon is part of our Senior Leadership Team, supporting our National Service Lead, National Strategic Lead and National Clinical Lead. Leon works across all PAC-UK services and projects, and is responsible for developing and maintaining PAC-UK systems (including data, monitoring, reporting and evaluation). He also manages our PAC-UK website and social media platforms. Prior to joining PAC-UK Leon worked for a sports development charity supporting young adults across Islington, Haringey and Hackney who were not in education, employment or training. Leon has a BA (Hons) Business Administration degree, and has previously worked in consultancy roles for other charitable organisations and businesses.
Practice Manager, Adopteens & Projects and Adoption Support Worker. Tanya is a qualified Social Worker who has been working at PAC-UK since 2014. Tanya has several roles within PAC-UK, which include supporting adoptees, first families and adoptive parents. Tanya co-leads Adopteens (formerly AT-iD Project), an innovative pilot project designed and led by teenage adoptees, aimed at building friendships and giving teens a space to be themselves. Tanya is passionate about enabling adoptees to have a voice on the issues that matter to them, to improve understanding and the way we work to support people affected by adoption. Tanya supports adoptive families through PAC-UK’s Child to Parent Violence (CPV) Programme co-facilitating PAC-UK’s CPV Parent Groups, and delivering PAC-UK’s CPV Programme to individual families. Tanya also works in PAC-UK’s Adult Services team offering emotional and letterbox support to first family members, co-facilitates the Leeds First Family support group and works on PAC-UK’s Leeds Advice Line. Tanya has completed training in Non Violent Resistance (NVR) Level 1 and feels it is a very practical and affective way of working with parents to improve relationships and reduce violence. Tanya has also completed training in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) Level 1 and enjoys the non- judgmental use of PACE when working with people affected by trauma.
Practice Manager, London. Judith has worked at PAC-UK since 2017 as Practice Manager with lead responsibility for services for Special Guardians and Intermediary Services in the London region. Judith is a social worker and counsellor who has specialised in post adoption support since 2005. Judith has also worked with children affected by parental substance misuse. In previous roles, Judith has worked in the education sector as a teacher and in social care in various positions, including managing adoption support services for local authorities.
Practice Manager, Child & Family Service. Ania is a qualified Child & Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist (ACP registered) and has many years of experience of working with young people and their families in a wide range of contexts, including NHS CAMHS, social enterprise and more recently in independent practice. Before embarking on training in Child & Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, Ania had a long career as a specialist genetic counsellor in Clinical Genetics, working with individuals and families either affected or at risk of having children with inherited conditions.
Practice Manager, London. Adrian’s role at PAC-UK is as a Practice Manager in our London Clinical Team, working on the advice line and therapeutically supporting adults and children affected by adoption or other permanent placement. Adrian trained as an Integrative Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist at Terapia and is registered with UKCP. He is also an adoptive parent who supports adoptive parents and special guardians through the Enhancing Adoptive Parenting (EAP) and Advanced Parenting Programme for Special Guardians (APP) Programmes, and Non Violent Resistance (NVR) Training as an NVR Informed Practitioner. Adrian has worked extensively in primary and secondary schools as a Counsellor and Therapy Group Facilitator and is interested in effectively supporting adopted children and children under special guardianship orders in educational settings.
Practice Manager, North East. Claire has been a qualified social worker since 2012 and is HCPC qualified, is trained in Theraplay (Level 1), group Theraplay (Level 1) and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (Level 1). Claire has been involved in providing post adoption support within the North East region for over 6 years to those affected by adoption. This has involved supporting contemporary and historic birth parents, supporting birth siblings and grandparents, as well as supporting adopted adults to access adoption records and searching for and establishing contact with members of their birth family. Claire was previously the lead worker for the TalkAdoption service in the region, providing therapeutically influenced group support to adopted children, young people and their families, and supporting those involved to have had active participation in the development and delivery of the service over the years. This involved supporting the steering group (of adopted young people) to ensure the relevance of the service to those who accessed it, and to get involved in wider project work to raise awareness of adoption and the impact to those who are adopted. Additionally Claire has delivered adoptive parents training group sessions, as well as the SafeBase therapeutic parenting course, and has provided direct support to adoptive parents. Prior to her social work qualification, Claire completed her CACHE Diploma in Child Care and Education, and had worked in childcare settings as well as volunteering in her local community centre.
Practice Manager, Yorkshire & Humber. Prior to joining PAC-UK in Leeds Marie spent 10 years as an Adoption Support Worker for After Adoption, primarily supporting birth parents. She also provided intermediary support and counselling to both birth parents and adopted adults. Marie is a qualified counsellor and an accredited member of BACP. She also has qualifications in Theraplay and MIM, and has delivered the SafeBase programme and other group-based work for adopters. In her earlier career, Marie worked with adolescents in secondary schools and as an outreach youth worker, as well as a parent support worker, and gained qualifications in both these fields. Her experience of counselling vulnerable adults and victims enables Marie to bring a deep understanding to her role, along with the appreciation of young vulnerable teenagers’ needs and how they are unable to break the cycle leading them to become the birth parents of today. At PAC-UK, Marie will act as a Practice Manager covering the One Adoption contract and also for Lincolnshire Local Authority. She is passionate about supporting interventions in order to change lives for the better.
Practice Manager, Merseyside. Prior to joining PAC-UK, Jan worked at After Adoption. The service provided support for adopted young people, adopted adults, first family birth members and birth family members. The work consisted of organising therapeutic activities for young adopted people, support with Access to Records for adopted adults, providing an Intermediary Services for both adopted adults and birth family members, and support for first family members around issues relating to the adoption of a child or children, for example support around Letterbox exchange. Jan spent 13 years working for The Catholic Children’s Society, (now part of Caritas), delivering parenting courses, both in group settings and one to one. Jan also ran family support groups for vulnerable families to help reduce isolation and establish friendships and support networks. After leaving college Jan spent 15 years working for Action for Children, providing intensive family support and parenting assessments for local authorities.
Practice Manager, North West. Lauren trained to be a Social Worker at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2008. She worked in front line child protection teams across Leeds, Cheshire East and Manchester until 2016. During this time, she progressed to a Senior Social Worker and trained to be a Practice Educator. Lauren joined Manchester’s adoption support team in 2016, which became part of the Regional Adoption Agency Adoption Counts in 2017. Lauren’s work involved supporting children and adults affected by adoption, including; adopted children, birth parents and relatives, adoptive parents and adopted adults. Lauren joined PAC-UK in November 2019 as part of our North West team and became the Practice Manager of the North West service in May 2022. Lauren is passionate about supporting birth families and advocating for change in adoption.
North Adult Services Regional Manager. Emma qualified as a social worker in 2008 from The University of Manchester and is registered with the HCPC. Emma has since worked predominantly within Local Authorities including Derbyshire and Manchester as a Social worker and Senior Practitioner within Child Protection teams. Most recently Emma has worked with an adoption and permanence team progressing children’s adoption plans and preparing children for adoption which included life story work with children and birth parents. Emma has also worked as a Social Worker within a residential assessment centre undertaking court directed PAMs Assessments for parents with learning difficulties. Furthermore Emma holds an MSc Psychology which included undertaking research into professionals attitudes when working with service users who have a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and Emma also holds certificate in Systemic Practice accredited by the Institute for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice. Emma has gained a wealth of experience working with and supporting parents who have challenges with mental health, addiction and domestic abuse and has experience of working directly foster carers and adoptive parents around therapeutic parenting and developmental trauma.
Business & Admin Manager. Yvette joined PAC-UK in 2014, initially as an Apprentice Team Administrator. After passing her BTEC National Diploma Level 2 & Level 3 in Business Administration Yvette was offered a permanent Team Administrator position, in 2017 was promoted to Operations Assistant and in 2021 was appointed Business & Admin Manager. Yvette manages our Leeds office building and admin team, supporting PAC-UK services in the North. She is currently studying her ILM Level 3 in Leadership and Management.
Practice Manager, London. Kasia joined PAC-UK in 2021 and is a qualified Social Worker. Based at our Head Office in London, Kasia manages the delivery of our national Child to Parent Violence programme. Kasia has many years of experience of working with children, young people and their families in a wide range of contexts, including statutory social work, therapeutic social work and independent practice. Kasia has worked with children and families affected by parental alcohol misuse, child sexual exploitation, domestic violence, other contexts and has completed training in Non-Violent Resistance (NVR) Level 1. Kasia is neurodivergent and passionate about supporting neurodivergent children and adults.
London & South Team
Adult Services Counsellor. Alvina had a long career in North London primary schools where she worked as a Literacy Consultant and Senior Manager, specialising in the coordination of Special Educational Needs. Alvina introduced a number of therapeutic approaches to her work in order to enhance some aspects of her teaching. She developed and managed a small nurture group offering an early intervention of structured support to identified pupils in Key Stage 1. The success of this project was the catalyst that inspired Alvina to study for an M.A. and to qualify as a UKCP accredited Psychotherapist. Alvina’s supervised placement, as a Trainee Counsellor, was initially with MIND and later continued at PAC-UK. She stayed on at the organisation as a Volunteer, a Sessional Worker providing adult counselling, and an Advice Line Support Worker until the end of 2013. During her time at PAC-UK Alvina has provided counselling to a wide range of clients including adopted adults, couples, birth parents, special guardians, prospective adopters, adoptive parents and clients seeking reunions. Alvina considers a strong therapeutic relationship to be of particular importance in her counselling work. She believes that this kind of engagement supports clients who have experienced trauma, separation and loss, helping them to acknowledge and confront their concerns.
Adult Services Counsellor. Patsy works as a counsellor for PAC-UK. She completed the Adoption Counselling Expertise (ACE) course in 1998 and regularly undertakes trainings to increase her skill base. Patsy previously worked as a senior social worker for five years in Wandsworth’s post adoption service gaining experience with special guardians, adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees; children and adults. Prior to that she was part of the Wandsworth multidisciplinary tier four CAMHS service for twenty years. Her former social work role was as an approved mental health practitioner. Patsy’s roles within PAC-UK have included delivering training in life story work, self-care skills and caring for children with developmental trauma. She is also a parent advisor for the Enhancing Adoptive Parenting Programme and offers short term intensive assessments. Patsy has trained in DDP – Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and AIT- Advanced Integrative Therapy.
Birth Parent Support Worker. Rita Cleary is PAC-UK’s Birth Parent Support Worker. Within that role Rita provides specialist support for birth parents, during a drop-in service twice a month at PAC-UK. Rita also offers support to birth families where there is direct contact with the child. She has written a practice paper for PAC-UK which reflects on her work with birth mothers at PAC-UK. Rita has an advanced diploma in humanistic integrative counselling. She completed PAC-UK’s specialist Adoption Counselling Expertise (ACE) course and is qualified in cognitive behavioural therapy. She has been associated with PAC-UK for over 15 years.
Adult Services Counsellor. Qualifying as a social worker in 1981, Laura worked in local authority adoption teams from 1988 to 2014, specialising in post-adoption work since 2000 following a year’s secondment at PAC-UK. Her roles have included direct work with all those involved in adoption and other forms of permanency, training, supervising adoption support social workers and supervising social workers assessing and supporting kinship carers.
Adult Services Counsellor. Rose’s role at PAC-UK is as a counsellor in the adult counselling service, providing counselling to adults affected by adoption or other permanent placement. These include adopted adults, care experienced adults, birth parents and other birth relatives, adoptive parents and special guardians. Rose has a particular interest in the impact of early trauma, separation and loss, identity issues and support around search and reunion. Rose is a qualified social worker with over 30 years’ experience of providing adoption support services and post care services for adults. She has an Advanced Diploma in Humanistic Integrative Counselling and has completed PAC-UK’s Adoption Counselling Expertise (ACE) diploma and undertaken PAC-UK’s Enhancing Adoptive Parenting training. Rose is a registered member of BACP and Social Work England. She has worked as a research interviewer/team member on several major adoption research studies into the experience of adopted adults and their birth and adoptive families.
Child & Family Therapist. Sue has worked in the field of fostering and adoption for over 40 years. Sue retired as Practice Manager of the London Child & Family Service at PAC-UK in November 2021, having worked there as a manager and therapist for 20 years. She continues to work as an associate running NVR groups and other trainings. Sue has a special interest in helping families deal with the impact of trauma on their daily lives and has her own private practice. Sue is an integrative Child Psychotherapist registered with UKCP, registered social worker (Social Work England) accredited NVR practitioner and Supervisor (NVR-UK), accredited Clinical Supervisor Level 2 (SDS), accredited EFT practitioner (Emotional Freedom Technique with EFT International), an accredited Energy EFT practitioner, an AIT practitioner (Advanced Integrative Therapy ). She is trained and experienced in Theraplay®, EMDR, level 1, 2, 3 Adult, 1&2 Children and Adolescence (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing). She has undertaken Level 1 and Level 2 DDP training (Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy.) Sue is a former Guardian ad Litem. She has an MA in Integrative Child Psychotherapy, a Pg. Dip in Drama Therapy, a BA in Applied Social Studies and a CQSW.
Adult Services Counsellor. Fiona joined PAC-UK in 2013 and works at our Head Office in London and online. She qualified as a social worker in 1984 and is also a BACP accredited counsellor. She has worked throughout her career with children who are fostered, adopted or permanently placed with family members. Fiona worked for 10 years as an adoption social worker and manager, working with all stages of the adoption process. She then joined a London borough in 2007 where she managed the Adoption Support Service and Special Guardianship Team. She has a particular interest in attachment styles in adults and children.
Adult Services Counsellor. Cascia is a qualified social worker with many years’ experience working in the field of adoption and fostering, both as a practitioner and manager in a busy inner London local authority. She is HCPC registered. Prior to joining PAC-UK Cascia worked for 11 years in the voluntary sector as a senior social work practitioner providing a post care and post-adoption service including adult counselling, access to/sharing care and adoption records, and intermediary and search services. Cascia is a qualified and experienced attachment based psychoanalytic psychotherapist and a registered member of The Bowlby Centre and UKCP.
Child & Family Therapist. Veronique Faure studied and qualified in France as a Social Worker (HCPC Registered), and in the UK as an Integrative Arts Psychotherapist (UKCP Registered). She also obtained a Diploma in Child Psychotherapeutic Skills, and a Diploma in Clinical Supervision and Consultancy. She works privately with adults, children and adolescents, and as part of the Child and Family team at PAC-UK. She has 25+ years of multi-cultural inner-city professional experience, in the field of child protection, children in care and adoption. Amongst other things, she has managed a Residential and Outreach Family Assessment Centre; she has worked as a Court Expert in Family Proceedings, as a Child Protection Conference Chair and as an Independent Reviewing Officer; she also trained Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists for 7 years.
Child & Family Therapist. Darit is a PTUK Certified Play Therapist who trained at Leeds Beckett University. She also trained in Animal Assisted Therapy at David Yalin College in Jerusalem. Previous to this, Darit worked as a special needs teacher in both mainstream and special needs schools at primary and secondary levels in Israel and England. Darit has 20 years of experience working as a therapist in a variety of settings (schools, children centres, domestic violence refuges and charities) with children who have social, emotional and behavioral difficulties. Currently, Darit works in a cancer care charity with children whose parents are either ill or passed away from cancer and also works privately with children and adolescents (and as part of the Child & Family Service at PAC-UK).
Child & Family Therapist. Charlotte Burton is a Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist who trained at the Northern School for Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy (NSCAP) affiliated to the Tavistock and Portman Clinic. Charlotte’s qualifications include a degree in Psychology and Counselling from the University of Surrey, a Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling from Regent’s College and a Psychodynamic Diploma in Supervision from the Westminster Pastoral Foundation. Prior to completing the clinical training at NSCAP, Charlotte worked as a Psychodynamic counsellor (Senior Accredited with the BACP) and supervisor for 19 years in various youth counselling advice and support services in deprived inner city areas in London, Leeds and Rotherham. Charlotte has a particular interest in working with children and young people who are looked after or adopted. Charlotte has worked at PAC-UK and Islington CAMHS since 2018. She is a full member of the ACP.
Child & Family Therapist. Joanna is an Integrative Arts Psychotherapist, MA UKCP registered who trained at the Institute of Arts in Therapy and Education. She has a Diploma in Clinical Supervision and is certified in Child Therapeutic Skills. Joanna has trained in DDP (Level One), Theraplay© (Level One), NVR (Level One) and EMDR (Level One & Level Two). Joanna has worked for the past 17 years in a range of settings in both statutory and voluntary services. Joanna joined our PAC-UK Child & Family Service in 2018. In addition to working in our Child & Family Service, Joanna is a tutor in the Well-Being faculty at the Institute of Arts in Therapy & Education, a Professional Adviser for Young Minds and the Co-chair of the Training Standards Committee for the UKCP Child College. For 10 years prior to this Joanna was the Young Oasis Lead developing and managing a multi-disciplinary Child & Family Service as part of the Brighton Oasis Project. Young Oasis supports infants, children, young people and parent/carers affected by familial drug or alcohol misuse. In 2018 Joanna was the clinical lead for a ‘Wellcome’ funded project called the Art of Attachment, which went into depth to consider attachment relationships using the arts.
Child & Family Therapist. Jeanine is an Art Psychotherapist, and an NVR-UK accredited Group Practitioner and Supervisor. Her background is in education and residential care. Jeanine completed her Undergraduate training as a Creative Expressive Group Facilitator in 2009 and went on to working in residential care with looked after children and young people. During her 9 years of residential work, she became interested in expanding the limited interventions available to staff for supporting the children process their relationships and their experiences. In 2014 Jeanine began working in education across mainstream and specialist settings as a School Counsellor, NVR Parent Group Facilitator, Staff Trainer and Safeguarding Lead. Jeanine’s various roles have given her experience of working with young people with a wide range of needs and presenting difficulties including; young people with SEN, social emotional mental health needs affecting their behaviour, adverse childhood experiences such as abuse, loss of significant people and separation from caregivers. She has also worked with young people who have been exploited by their peers as well as young people who present with harmful sexual behaviour. Jeanine has a BA in Creative Expressive Therapies from the University of Derby and an MA in Art Psychotherapy from the University of Hertfordshire and has HCPC registration. Jeanine has been involved with NVR since 2014 and joined the PAC-UK Child & Family Service in May 2020. Jeanine is particularly interested in experiential group processes and supporting families who struggle with social and emotional mental health difficulties through the use of creative play.
Child & Family Therapist. Jane is an Integrative Child Psychotherapist who trained at the Institute of Arts and Therapy in Education. She is registered with UKCP. Alongside her work at PAC-UK, Jane runs a multi-family group in a primary school and supports children, adolescents and their families in private practice. Jane also has significant experience working therapeutically in schools, where she has helped develop award winning therapeutic services and schoolwide programmes to support the mental health and wellbeing of students and staff. Jane was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2020 to research models for clinical supervision for teachers with Safeguarding responsibilities in New Zealand and Australia. She began her career as a teacher, before specialising in working with children with social and emotional difficulties and in particular, with those children who have experienced challenging childhood experiences. This included supporting children at risk of exclusion at the charity Jamie’s Farm.
Adult Services Counsellor. Annie has worked at PAC-UK since 2017 working with adoptive parents and special guardians in a variety of services. Annie is a qualified Family Therapist. She has worked in the local authority, voluntarily sector and CAMHS carrying out direct therapeutic work with children and families affected by trauma and abuse.
Adult Services Counsellor. Deborah is an integratively trained psychotherapeutic counsellor who worked for 12 years in local authority child, family, and targeted youth support services, including adoption and fostering, youth justice, child in need and young people’s homeless support (including unaccompanied child asylum services), where she undertook restorative work with children and young people separated from their families, their family members and the professionals involved with them. Whilst in counselling training, she moved to the charity sector, working at a national charity for children in care as lead advice worker, designing and delivering trauma informed training for professionals and young care experienced adults whilst also undertaking direct work with young people. Prior to joining PAC-UK, Deborah’s supervised clinical counselling placement was in the NHS within a busy London GP practice and it was at this time she moved into a role in Family Action’s London Young Carer Services. During her time at Family Action, Deborah worked in a lead role assisting the set-up and delivery of an emotional support service for care experienced adults. In 2021 Deborah joined PAC-UK, and is part of our Adult Services team in London – in addition to delivering adult counselling, Deborah also works on our PAC-UK Advice Line. In her counselling work Deborah draws on several therapeutic approaches, holding the view that our past continues to affect us and it is by developing insight and understanding that we can begin to gain compassion for our selves and our choices.
Adult Services Counsellor. Bethany joined PAC-UK in 2021 as an Adult Counsellor, providing support to adults affected by adoption or other permanent placement. Bethany qualified as a social worker in 2015 following successful completion of a Postgraduate Masters in Social Work and is registered with Social Work England. After qualifying, she joined After Adoption, a Voluntary Adoption Agency in the Midlands. Alongside providing post adoption support including access to records and intermediary services, Bethany was involved in the development and delivery of several pilot projects, most notably an innovative and therapeutic programme called Breaking the Cycle. This programme supports women who have lost children to adoption to reflect on their lives in order to make positive and informed choices for their future. Bethany relished this opportunity to work therapeutically with birth parents, supporting them to reflect, rediscover self and flourish. She was thrilled to be able to share some insights from the Breaking the Cycle programme by contributing to Joanne Alper’s edited works ‘Supporting Birth Parents whose Children have been Adopted’.
Adult Services Counsellor. Ayshah qualified as a Social Worker in 2019 via the Frontline Masters programme. Ayshah has 2.5 years of experience working with vulnerable children and families, including providing close support to Special Guardians and has a sound, first hand understanding of how court processes relating to adoption and permanency can impact families and individuals. Prior to this, Ayshah has experience of supporting adults with Learning Disabilities and Autism, having trained in Positive Behavioural Support. She has also worked closely with survivors of domestic abuse, in both 1-1 and group session contexts, developing specialised skills in this area. Ayshah’s experience with clients of diverse ages and backgrounds has pushed her to develop a high standard of person-centred, relational practice. Ayshah’s approach emphasises reflexivity, aligning with a systemic perspective, which is underpinned by both her Social Work training and Undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology. Ayshah joined PAC-UK in August 2021 as an Adult Counsellor, seeking new opportunities for growth whilst continuing to nurture her connection with communities in need of support.
Adult Services Counsellor. In her role at PAC-UK, Jan provides counselling to adults affected by adoption. Jan is a person-centred counsellor and registered member of BACP. Prior to joining PAC-UK, Jan worked with two other Voluntary Adoption Support Agencies. Jan’s other role at PAC-UK is Associate Lead Supervisor and Intermediary within the Private Intermediary Service. Together with a colleague, Jan designs and delivers specialist training for professionals working across the UK with adults affected by adoption. She also facilitates an adoption support group open to adopted adults, birth relatives and adoptive relatives.
Data and Business Support Administrator. Jin joined PAC-UK in 2022 and is based at our Family Action Head Office in London. Jin’s role includes administrative, data collection, data reporting and analysis, financial management and monitoring tasks, working closely with our National Operational Lead to manage these functions across all PAC-UK services and projects. Jin has a Bachelor of Science in Economics and sees his role at PAC-UK as a great opportunity for growth and personal development.
Adoption Support Worker. Prior to joining PAC-UK, Paula worked at After Adoption for over 3 years supporting young people and adults affected by adoption offering first family support, access to records, intermediary services as well as coordinating the letterbox service. Paula spent 15 years with Action for Children conducting parenting assessments on behalf of local authorities for submission to court proceedings. Paula has also spent some time as a Duty Social Worker for Wirral MBC Fostering Team finding placements for children coming into local authority care. Paula qualified as a Social Worker in 1999.
North East Team
Adoption Support Worker. Angela qualified as a Social Worker in 1996 and is HCPC registered. Since qualification she has worked within many areas of social work i.e. with Vulnerable Adults and Safeguarding Children; Mental Health and Education. Angela is an experienced Adoption Support Services Adviser and specialises in the field of post-adoption, working with all parties in the adoption triangle: adoptees, adoptive parents, birth relatives and siblings. Angela has many years’ experience as an Independent Adoption Panel member and has practiced within Private, Voluntary and Local Authority agencies.
Adoption Support Worker. Ricia qualified as a Social Worker in 1987 and is based in the North East in PAC-UK Adult Services. Ricia has experience in various local authority teams including Community Mental Health teams in Sussex and Northumberland, Residential Services and in Adult Social Care. Ricia worked as an Adoption Support Social Worker with After Adoption for ten years, providing support for people affected by adoption, which included supporting birth relatives, children and families, access to records and intermediary work. Ricia is trained in Theraplay® Level 1 and has experience in working with adoptive families using Theraplay® influenced practice to promote parent/child attachments.
Adoption Support Worker. Lisa joined PAC-UK in January 2022 and is part of our Adult Services Team delivering services in the North East. She qualified with a counselling diploma in 2013 and is trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Lisa a registered member of BACP and is currently in the process of completing her BACP accreditation. Lisa has over 8 years experience working with survivors of sexual violence, having previously worked with the Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre and in 2016 qualified as an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor – providing support to survivors through the legal process. Lisa has also facilitated group work for survivors of domestic abuse.
North West Team
Birth Parent Service Counsellor. Polly is a BACP registered counsellor with a keen interest in holistic wellbeing. She has also trained in Psychology, Coaching and Mindfulness and works integratively depending on the needs of the individual she is working with. Polly has worked therapeutically with families since 2006, and is passionate about ensuring individuals are able to seek out and engage in emotional support to enable them to work through experiences within their life that have caused challenges and adversity. Polly also has a background in delivering training on topics including attachment, resilience and domestic abuse. Polly joined PAC-UK in 2021 and is keen to support adults who no longer have their children in their care to feel heard and valued.
Birth Parent Service Counsellor. Diane joined PAC-UK in December 2021 and is part of our Adult Services Team delivering services in the North West. Diane began her pathway into social work by training to be a counsellor – during her training Diane undertook some voluntary work with After Adoption on their advice line. In 2006 Diane started her Social Work degree, with her final placement being back at After Adoption, as she wanted to specialise in adoption and permanency. Since completing her degree in 2009, Diane has worked in various local authorities (including Cheshire West and Chester, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside and Trafford) supporting children, parents and families who have been affected by adoption and permanency. Diane, who has also worked for the NSPCC, is very much looking forward to using her vast knowledge and experience to support birth parents in her role at PAC-UK.
Birth Parent Service Counsellor. Julie qualified as a Social Worker in 2002 from the University of Sheffield. Since then, Julie has worked in varied roles within local authorities and charities in England and Scotland including Youth Justice, Permanence, ChildLine, Early Help and Adoption Support. Julie has many years’ experience supporting all parties involved in adoption including children and young people, first families, adopted adults and adoptive parents and credits her understanding of adoption to the individuals she has worked with as much as to formal training. Julie has completed Level 1 training in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and has found this framework for understanding developmental trauma and use of PACE fits her none-judgmental, calm and friendly way of working.
Yorkshire & Humber Team
Adult Services Counsellor. Laura has been involved in services for Children and Families since graduating in 2002, particularly with Looked after Children and Care-Leavers. She began working in adoption when she joined the organisation in 2012 and specialised in working with contemporary birth parents and with people affected by adoption who are in prison. She also provides adoption support for adults from our outreach base in Halifax. Laura is a qualified Integrative Counsellor/Psychotherapist and currently offers counselling to adult adoptees at the PAC-UK Leeds office.
Adult Services Counsellor. Wendy is a qualified social worker and is HCPC registered. Wendy has worked extensively with children and families in local authority settings for over 30 years. Based in our PAC-UK Leeds office, Wendy joined us in 2013 and is an experienced Adoption Support Worker, specialising in working with adopted adults and birth relatives.
Adult Services Counsellor. Clare is an adoption support worker and qualified counsellor. She has worked in adoption for 17 years as a caseworker with adopted people, birth relatives and adopters. She currently runs the Leeds Office Advice Line, and PAC-UK’s Tracing service.
Education Worker. Helen is an experienced teacher. Having completed a BA in drama and a post graduate teaching qualification she taught in secondary schools for seven years. Helen has worked across the field of education with pupils in secondary and primary as part of transition schemes and nurture groups, working with children with a wide range of abilities and needs. Since joining PAC-UK in 2015 Helen has worked passionately as part of the education team to raise awareness of adoption based difficulties in education, and worked with schools and families to provide support and evidence based strategies to meet the needs of young people of permanence struggling in education.
Adult Services Counsellor. Carol qualified as a social worker is 1989 and working extensively with children and families in a local authority setting, before specialising in adoption work. She has worked as a freelance social worker and lecturer for several years and in May 2016 began work as an adult services counsellor.
Adopteens Project Worker. Gaiena joined PAC-UK as an Adopteens Project Worker in 2016. Gaiena has a 15 year background in youth work, working with looked after young people and also adopted young people and their families within a local authority post-adoption support team. Gaiena also has several years of experience supporting first families around adoption and contact and adopted adults who wish to access records and undertakes trace and intermediary work. Gaiena is a person centred counsellor with an understanding of issues around adoption from all parties involved. Gaiena enjoys working with adults and young people and feels the most precious part of this work is seeing people grow and move forward in their lives with the right environment and support.
Child & Family Therapist. Charlene is a PTUK qualified Play Therapist and has a professional registration with BACP. Charlene has worked with children and young people for 20 years. Some of this time was spent helping primary aged children break down barriers to learning within an educational context. This consisted of delivering sessions to groups of young people to help tackle difficulties such as self-esteem, confidence, bullying and friendship. She has spent a number of years working with Looked After Children who display extremely challenging behaviour and experience social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Charlene currently works as a play therapist, supporting children/young people improve their mental health and wellbeing and also supports families and schools who need advice about difficulties experienced by their pupils. Charlene delivers NVR to groups and to individual parents and is an intermediate Theraplay© Practitioner.
Child & Family Therapist. Gillian is a HCPC and BAAT registered Art Psychotherapist. She qualified in 2011 and has since worked with adults, children and adolescents in a variety of contexts. Gillian has experience of working with looked after children and adolescents prior to working for PAC-UK, and worked with looked after children and adolescents in a therapeutic setting before qualifying as a therapist.
Adoption Support Worker. Selina qualified as a Social Worker in 2012 and has since worked primarily within services that support children and families. Selina has also worked within safeguarding services, and has worked supporting children who were cared for by the Local Authority Children’s Services. As an Adoption Support Social Worker Selina gained further experience of working with children that required therapeutic care approaches and post adoption support. Selina is trained in using Level 1 TheraplayⓇ principles which supports the child and caregiver relationship, and aims to improve attachment through play and interaction. Selina’s work within Children’s Social Care has included working with children and young people who were placed in foster care, residential care and who were adopted. Selina has also provided support to children’s parents and carers. Selina’s experience involves working with different forms of permanency for children within the fostering and adoption services. Alongside her role with PAC-UK, Selina is also an independent fostering panel member for a Local Authority which involves making recommendations on the suitability of carers to meet children’s needs. Selina’s role within the organisation includes providing support to people affected by adoption, which includes adopted people and birth relatives. She also provides support around helping people to access their records and intermediary work which involves helping people establish contact with members of their birth family.
Adoption Support Worker. Peggy joined PAC-UK in 2020 and works with contemporary birth families. She is an adoptive parent with more than a decade’s experience of building positive relationships with birth family members. Her MA research dissertation examined the grief experience of birth mothers. Peggy is a qualified counsellor with BACP membership.
Adoption Support Worker. Jarrod qualified as a Person Centred Counsellor in 2003 and is registered with the BACP. Prior to joining PAC-UK in 2021, Jarrod worked for After Adoption for 16 years providing a full range of post adoption services including counselling, access to records, letterbox and search and intermediary services through to reunion for adopted adults and birth relatives. He also has experience of working for national EAP services providing counselling and wellbeing support. Jarrod also has experience working for a Mental Health charity providing counselling and mentoring university students within Salford University and the University of Manchester, supporting students with a diverse range of mental health needs.
Adoption Support Worker. Lynn joined our Adult Services North team in January 2022. She qualified as a social worker in 1987 and has worked in a variety of roles within local authorities, charities, the voluntary sector and the Probation Service. Specialising in the safeguarding of adults and children, for many years Lynn was an assessor of convicted sex offenders, working alongside a Sexual Behaviour Unit. In recent years, Lynn’s work has been adoption, fostering and permanency focussed – her work has included; undertaking Special Guardianship Order (SGO) & Connected Person Assessments, attending courts, being on fostering panels and working as a Therapeutic Supervising Social Worker for an Independent Fostering Agency.
Adoption Support Worker. Steve joined PAC-UK in October 2022. He is a qualified social worker with over 30 years’ experience and over 15 years’ working as a UKCP registered Integrative Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor. Steve has experience of working in the public, private and voluntary sectors in fostering, adoption, adult post adoption and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Child & Family Therapist. Joanne is a qualified Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist registered with the Association of Child Psychotherapists. Joanne has worked with children, young people and families in a range of contexts, including educational and clinical settings, and is completing a doctoral thesis exploring a psychoanalytic perspective on the nature of anxiety during assessments for therapeutic work. Joanne believes that a psychoanalytic approach, which attends to how things are perceived internally, can be useful in therapeutic work with looked after children because many have had challenges which compromise how they think, feel and experience the world. When internal concerns are unaddressed, unexplored feelings can be communicated in concerning ways which impact relationships and cause further pain. A psychoanalytic approach aims to reach internal experiences to help a child, or family, feel better understood promoting healthier perceptions and better relationships.