Child & Family Service
PAC-UK's Child & Family Service provides specialist support for children and families brought together by adoption or other forms of permanent placement. Click on the hyperlinks below for detailed information on the services we offer.
- Specialist Child & Family Service
- Assessment Services
- Therapeutic Services
- Parenting Services: Enhancing Adoptive Parenting (EAP) and Early Intervention Support (EIS) - plus new online video resource
- Child to Parent Violence Services - including NVR interventions
- Education Service
- Professional consultation and collaboration
- Referrals, fees and funding
- Further information
Please note, adoptive parents and special guardians are all referred to as ‘parents’ on this page.
We have specific expertise in providing assessments and therapeutic interventions to families whose children experienced developmental trauma prior to their adoption/permanent placement.
Developmental trauma occurs when a child experiences chronic interpersonal trauma including emotional, physical, sexual abuse, as well as significant disruptions in protective caregiving due to absent carers (neglect) or multiple separations from attachment figures.
Developmental trauma often results in a child having considerable attachment difficulties, self-regulation difficulties and difficulties in reaching age appropriate milestones with regards to their social-emotional and cognitive functioning. In addition, there can be classic PTSD symptoms (as well as a host of other difficulties that may be related to other issues such Autism, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, etc).
Developmental trauma: exposure to multiple forms of chronic, interpersonal maltreatment that start in early childhood and take place within the child’s caregiving system either simultaneously or sequentially; the overall impact of developmental trauma can be summarised as the impairment of the capacity for Attachment, Self-Regulation and age appropriate Competencies which can lead to long term problems (i.e. into adulthood).Cook, A., Blaustein, M., Spinazzola, J., and van der Kolk, B. (2003). ‘Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents - White Paper.’ National Child Traumatic Stress Network Complex Trauma Task Force
Most of our face-to-face services are offered at PAC-UK's offices in London and Leeds, though some services may be offered in only one of these locations. We are an experienced team that work well together and we look forward to working with parents and children referred to us. The range of services we offer is set out below and you can also download our Child & Family Service (North) leaflet and Child & Family Service (South) leaflet.
Initial parent and/or family consultation are offered to 1) undertake an initial assessment of the presenting difficulties and 2) to make an initial recommendation for further assessment and or intervention and 3) to give information on some practical therapeutic parenting strategies and other resources for the parents.
A number of one-off parent and family consultations may be available free of charge if the family lives in a local authority that PAC-UK has an annual contract with.
For any adoptive or special guardian family that wishes to pursue further specialist assessment and/or intervention, the local authority (LA) must complete an ‘adoption support assessment’/a ‘special guardian support assessment’ before the LA can apply for funding from the Adoption Support Fund (ASF).
After an initial ‘parent consultation‘ or ‘family consultation’ followed by a discussion with the parents/carers and the local authority or Regional Adoption Agency, a further, more comprehensive assessment may be advised. Assessment specific funding can be secured from the national Adoption Support Fund.
We can provide the following types of assessments:
- comprehensive family assessment
- parent-child interaction assessment
- comprehensive parent/carer assessment
- assessment of contact needs and communication agreements with birth family members
A comprehensive family assessment, or parent-child interaction assessment, is typically requested/recommended for a family whose complex presenting issues need more detailed consideration and analysis.
Comprehensive parent/s or carer/s assessments are available for parents/carers whose parenting is extensively challenged and/or who experience significant difficulties in their relationship as a parenting team (in two-parent families). Note that assessments with regard to particular parent/carer concerns may also be available pre-adoption/pre-placement.
Assessments of contact needs and communication agreements with birth family members are typically commissioned by Local Authorities or Regional Adoption Agencies who believe that a detailed assessment of all parties needs to be undertaken to make contact a constructive experience for all involved.
Our assessment methods include reading of all relevant background information, interview and family observation, as well as questionnaires. Play-informed, dyadic methods may include the Theraplay MIM assessment. In addition some of our own creative methods are used; these include use of the arts, music, sandplay (miniatures in sandtray), communication activities, and other. All our assessments include a written summary report.
Educational assessments, and assessments regarding Sensory Processing, ASD, ADHD, FASD, IQ and other may be recommended and would need to be undertaken by other providers.
Therapeutic services are usually requested by the parents and the child’s local authority. Therapeutic services may be preceded by a specialist assessment (see above,) though a different agency may have undertaken an assessment, or the local authority’s adoption/special guardianship support assessment will provide sufficient information to start with a therapeutic intervention.
We will put an intervention proposal together which may include any, or a combination of the below:
- intensive therapeutic parent sessions to support parents in becoming ‘therapeutic parents’
- intensive therapeutic family sessions: mostly with one child and the parent/s
- individual therapy sessions for children and adolescents – usually in the context of therapeutic family work
- early intervention and home parenting programme (incl. the Enhancing Adoptive Parenting Programme)
- therapeutic contact work with adoptive/special guardianship family and birth family members
- adoption disruption support
- individual sessions for parents who wish/need to process aspects of their own loss, attachment, trauma history
A selection of the below available therapeutic methods will also be specified.
Our main therapeutic methods are listed below. Either click here or on the below hyperlinks to be taken to a page which lists detailed information on each method and how it is used.
- Theraplay® informed Practice
- Creative therapies
- Art therapy
- Play therapy
- Individual Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy
- Therapeutic Life Story Work – TLSW
- Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy - DDP (and interventions informed by DDP)
- Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing - EMDR
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
- Therapeutic parenting strategies
- Non-Violent Resistance - NVR
- A combination of therapeutic approaches
- Engagement with professional network
- telephone/email contact with parents at times of crisis
- regular telephone/email liaison with social worker/other professionals (as needed)
- telephone/email liaison with school (as needed)
- network meetings with the social worker and other professionals involved with the child/the family
The following are our ‘aimed for outcomes’. Although not all will be achieved, we generally do see positive changes in both the child’s presentation and the parents’ parenting.
- parents’ attunement and empathic understanding of their child improves
- parents’ management of the child’s challenging behaviour improves
- in two parent families: parents’ team work improves
- child’s emotional regulation and behaviour improves
- child’s relationships and attachment security with parents improves
- child’s narrative of their early life becomes more coherent due to improved integration of past traumas and early life experiences
- child’s sense of adoptive and where relevant ethnic identity becomes clearer
- child’s engagement with learning improves
- family life improves for all family members – more positive times together and hope for a future together is restored
To evaluate these outcomes parents and children are given pre- post-intervention questionnaires that provide some measurement of change. In addition, the post-intervention questionnaires provide valuable feedback about the family’s satisfaction with the service received, the aspects they found most/least helpful and the ongoing challenges they still face. All the evaluation and feedback received contributes to recommendations made with regards to further adoption support services for the family and to reviews and possible adjustments to services offered at PAC-UK.
Parenting Services: Enhancing Adoptive Parenting (EAP) and Early Intervention Support (EIS) - plus new online video resource
Enhancing Adoptive Parenting (EAP) is a programme designed for new adoptive parents whose children are aged between 3 and 9, and who have been placed within the last 12 months.
EAP is also suitable for prospective adoptive parents/special guardians, and possibly regarding children older than 9 years, or who have been in placement for longer than 12 months.
In addition we offer Early Intervention Support (EIS), which consists of 4 sessions for families whose early placement support needs are to be clarified. The EAP programme may be advised to follow EIS.
The EAP programme, as well as EIS is usually programme is usually delivered within the home or via Skype by a specially trained counsellor or therapist.
To support EAP delivery, we have created an online resource of 10 short video sessions which cover the programmes’ core content. The average length of each session is around 10 minutes. These video sessions are now an integral part of the face-to face or Skype delivery of the EAP programme.
Visit our Enhancing Adoptive Parenting & Early Intervention Support page for more information.
Child to Parent Violence (CPV) is a pattern of physical, psychological and emotional behaviour used by children and adolescents to gain control or power over their parent/s or carers. In families who experience CPV, it is the children or young people who hold the power within the relationship.
CPV is a serious issue for many families, which is often misunderstood or overlooked. It can be a difficult and seemingly impossible task for parents and carers to acknowledge that this is happening in their family.
As an adoptive parent, seeking help for a child who is displaying such behaviours can be a very shaming experience which can, in turn, prevent parents from accessing the support they need.
PAC-UK offers a broad range of specialist CPV services for parents, carers and professionals (including CPV Awareness Raising Workshops, CPV Parent Groups, individualised CPV support and specialist training for professionals). These services are approved for funding by the Adoption Support Fund.
Visit our Child to Parent Violence Services page for more information.
Adopteens is a project commissioned by One Adoption and delivered by PAC-UK which is available to all adopted young people aged 11+ who live in the Yorkshire and Humber area. Once your registration to become a member has been approved, you gain access to the Adopteens online chat forum (a safe online space where adoptees can talk, share, rant, giggle and support each other); you can also attend activity days and members aged 13+ can join the Adopteens Youth Council (where you can attend workshops with the aim of using views and experiences to help professionals and policy makers).
Children and young people who have experienced early life trauma can experience a range of challenges in school. The Department for Education is increasingly recognising the long term impact of trauma and loss. 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 children who have experienced difficult starts in life.
We offer professional consultation for any professionals working with adoption and permanency. We can contribute to assessments the local authority may wish to undertake. See also the other available assessments section on this page.
For most, (though not all) of PAC-UK’s Child and Family services, funding can be accessed from the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) via the parents’ local authority, or the child’s local authority if the adoption order was finalised less than three years ago and the child’s local authority is different from the parents’.
The Adoption Support Fund provides funding for adopted/special guardian children and young people up to 21 years old. If a young person has an Educational Statement/EHCP (Education and Health Care Plan) the ASF can provide funding until the young person is 25 years old.
An application to the Adoption Support Fund needs to be made by the local authority after consultation with both the parents and an adoption support provider such as PAC-UK. Once the ASF agrees the funds, these are made available to the family via the local authority.
The First4Adoption website provides detailed information on why the fund was setup, how it works and what support is eligible for funding, and the Adoption UK website has useful ASF guides, statistics and a great FAQ's sections.
Occasionally funding can be secured from other sources (such as a Clinical Commissioning Group or health insurance). Private funding is welcome too.
Please contact us for more information on fees.
Children & Young People's Guide to PAC-UK Services (aged 8 years and older)
As an adopted or special guardian 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/carers came to see us. This page will hopefully answer some of your questions.
Children & Young People's Guide to PAC-UK Services (8 years and younger)
As an adopted or special guardian child you may have some questions about what PAC-UK is, and what it would be like if you and your parents/carers came to see us. Do ask your mum or dad to read this page. It will hopefully answer some of your questions.
Intensive Therapeutic Support for Adoptive Families & Families with Permanently Placed Children & Adolescents
Description of therapeutic process.