Child & Family Service

PAC-UK's Child and Family Service provides specialist therapeutic support for children and families brought together by adoption or other forms of permanent placement.

Adoption Support Fund

The ‘Adoption Support Fund’ has been specifically set up by the government to increase the access to specialist services for adoptive families who are struggling and need help. Too many adoptive families were having difficulties in securing support in the past. The Adoption Fund is intended to remedy this by making funding available for services tailored to the needs of adoptive families. The fund can be applied to from May 2015. It will enable access to a range of assessments, therapeutic and other support services, a significant number of which are available at PAC-UK.

An application to the Adoption Support Fund needs to take place in partnership with your local authority. The diagram below summarises the process (from

Adoption Support Fund

These websites provide further information on the Adoption Support Fund:

PAC-UK's specialist therapeutic Child and Family Service

PAC-UK’s Child & Family Service has extensive experience in all aspects of supporting families with adopted children or otherwise permanently placed children.

We have particular expertise in providing assessments and therapeutic interventions to families whose children experienced developmental trauma such as early life abuse, neglect, multiple separations and other traumas prior to their adoption/permanent placement.

dreamstime_870571Working with black and minority ethnic children, and transracially adopted/permanently placed children is another aspect of our expertise.

The range of assessment and therapeutic services we offer is set out below.

Almost all of our therapeutic approaches actively involve the parents.

Initial family consultations and comprehensive family assessments typically involve the parent/s and all children in the family (adopted/permanently placed and birth children).

Once the weekly therapeutic sessions start, these involve the parent/s and one child at any one time for the majority of the sessions, though there will be some therapeutic family sessions involving all siblings (adopted/permanently placed and birth children) when families have more than one child.

Assessment and Therapeutic Services we offer

Initial consultation sessions
  • parent/s or couple consultation
  • family consultation

gay_family_rectInitial parent and/or family consultation are offered to make an initial assessment of the presenting difficulties and advise about parenting strategies and other actions parents can take, including the possibility of requesting an ‘adoption support assessment’ from their local authority. The recommendations made in an adoption support assessment may then include further, more complex/specialist assessments and/or therapeutic interventions which PAC-UK can provide.

A significant number of parent and family consultations are available free of charge if the family lives in a local authority that PAC-UK has an annual contract with. Please contact us to find out more.

Specialist assessments we provide
  • comprehensive family assessment
  • child assessment (in the context of a family assessment)
  • parent-child interaction/attachment assessment
  • education assessment
  • sibling assessment
  • parent attachment/loss/trauma assessment with regard to therapeutic parenting
  • pre-adoption parent attachment/loss/trauma assessment
  • assessment of contact needs and arrangements with birth family members

Additional assessments by specialists associated with or recommended by PAC-UK may be advised, such as a Sensory Integration and Processing assessment, a Neuro-Developmental assessment, a Cognitive assessment, a Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder assessment, a Child/Adolescent Psychiatric assessment.

Assessment methods we use


  • projective methods such as the Art Therapy Attachment Potential Assessment, Sandplay, Sentence Completion, Story Stem Assessment, other creative arts methods
  • questionnaires and standardised psycho-diagnostic measures with regard to current family functioning, effects of their past traumas, education

Parents/carers with child/ren:

  • Theraplay® Marshak Interaction Method (MIM)
  • Family interaction assessment (with play, music and creative arts)
  • Sibling interaction assessment (with games, music and creative arts)

Parents/carers/teachers with regard to the child:

  • questionnaires and standardised psycho-diagnostic measures about child’s life story, traumas, attachment patterns, behaviour difficulties, self-regulation, executive functioning, strengths, identity, sibling relationships, education

Parents/carers with regard to themselves:

  • Attachment Style Interview
  • questionnaires and standardised psycho-diagnostic measures with regard to parenting, parents’ own histories, attachments/traumas, self-regulation, support network
  • projective methods with creative arts and sand-play
Therapeutic services we offer
  • intensive therapeutic family work
  • individual therapy sessions for children and adolescents in the context of intensive therapeutic family work
  • intensive therapeutic parent work to enable parents to become ‘therapeutic parents’
  • early intervention and home parenting programme (including the Enhancing Adoptive Parenting Programme)
  • individual sessions for parents who wish/need to process aspects of their own loss, attachment, trauma history
  • therapeutic life story work with adoptive family and birth family members
  • adoption disruption support work
Therapeutic methods we use
  • artwork for c and f pageTheraplay® informed Practice
  • Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
  • Extensive life story work
  • Cultural and racial identity work
  • Creative therapies e.g. art, music, drama, play
  • Attachment Communication Training (ACT)
  • Therapeutic parenting training
  • Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Emotional regulation and literacy work
  • Somatic Experiencing®
  • Aspects of Behaviour modification
  • Aspects of Sensory integration therapy
  • Non-Violent Resistance (NVR): PAC-UK therapists are receiving NVR training
Professional consultation and collaboration
  • professional consultation for any professionals working with adoption and permanency
  • contribution to assessments of a child’s placement needs and future support
  • contribution to assessments of prospective adopters and permanent carers
  • advice and training for schools
Bespoke services

We welcome requests for bespoke assessment, intervention and training tailored to the specific needs of local authorities, schools, and other professional agencies.

Please feel welcome to contact us for further explanations, and with any concern you may have.

Aimed for outcomes

  • Child’s relationships with parents, other family members improve
  • Child’s relationships with friends, teachers and other school staff improve
  • Child’s emotional regulation and behaviour management improves
  • Child’s engagement with learning improves
  • Child’s sense of identity becomes clearer
  • Child’s narrative of their early life becomes more coherent due to improved integration of past traumas and early life experiences
  • Child’s confidence and ability to enjoy a positive family and social life improves
  • Adoptive parents/permanent carers’ empathic understanding of their child improves
  • Parents and carers’ capacity be effective therapeutic parents improves
  • Parents and carers’ relationships with each other improve
  • Parents and carers’ team work improves
  • Family life improves for all family members - adoption breakdown is prevented


Our face-to-face services are offered at PAC-UK's offices in London and Leeds. Certain services may be offered in the family's home if funding allows for travel time and costs.

Parent Consultations are also offered by PAC-UK's outreach counsellors in a number of monthly outreach surgeries in boroughs around the country. Please contact us for details.

Referrals, fees and funding

Referrals: can be made by parents/carers, social workers or other professionals.

Fees: please contact us for information on fees.

Funding: can be accessed from the Adoption Support Fund (via local authority), or the child’s or the parents’ local authority and occasionally from other funding bodies (such as health insurance). Private funding is welcome too.

The families we work with

The children may present as:

  • Sad-little-girl-000080675443_Largedisconnected from parents and siblings
  • easily dys-regulated
  • impulsive
  • defiant/angry
  • violent
  • anxious
  • emotionally flat, ‘unfeeling’
  • dissociated
  • sexualised
  • not learning from mistakes
  • struggling to make and keep friends
  • overfamiliar with strangers
  • confused about their identity
  • traumatised by their past
  • troubled by their adoption/other placements
  • wondering about contact with their birth relatives

Prior to joining their adoptive/permanent family, they may have experienced:

  • abuse and neglect
  • separations from previous carers, birth parent/s, other birth family members
  • multiple placements
  • difficult contact with birth family members
  • other traumas

Parents/carers may:

  • have tried many different ways to help their child
  • have run out of understanding and energy
  • feel isolated, frustrated, disheartened
  • feel scared
  • feel traumatised
  • worry about their child’s future
  • feel distanced from their spouse/partner
  • feel that without help the adoption is at risk of breaking down

PAC-UK's Child and Family Team

Child and Family Word Cloud

View individual staff profiles of our team.

Parent feedback

(We found most helpful) the fact that we felt supported for the first time ever since placement by qualified and experienced people. We both recognise that our child made significant progress at PAC-UK. Adoptive parent

We thought the experience was really effective.It was a safe space to work through some of the issues that impact on us as individuals and as a family group. Adoptive family

Early sessions with parents were helpful preparation. The counsellors communicated very effectively with us. Sessions carefully planned taking previous work into account and appropriate needs of our child. Friendly and supportive approach. Adoptive family

Very good. Very professional and competent. I feel we are in good hands and trust the advice given. Adoptive family

Further information

Information for Children and Young People (aged 8 years and older)
As an adopted child or young person you may have some questions about what PAC-UK is, and what it would be like if you and your parents came to see us. This page will hopefully answer some of your questions.

Information for Children and Young People (aged 8 years and younger)
As an adopted child or young person you may have some questions about what PAC-UK is, and what it would be like if you and your parents came to see us. Do ask your mum or dad to read this page. It will hopefully answer some of your questions.

Enhancing Adoptive Parenting - A Parenting Programme for New Adopters
PAC-UK has been involved in the development of this individualised parenting programme for adopters facing challenging problems in children aged 3-9 who are recently placed after having been a looked after child.

PAC-UK Child and Family Leaflet
PAC-UK Assessment + Therapeutic Approaches with Families Handout 
PAC-UK General Leaflet London 
PAC-UK General Leaflet Leeds

Intensive Therapeutic Support for Adoptive Families & Families with Permanently Placed Children & Adolescents