Today (October 1, 2014) PAC and After Adoption Yorkshire have merged to form the largest independent adoption support agency in the country, to help and guide the 5,000 adoptions of children that take place in Britain every year.

It comes in response to the Government’s commitment to provide adopters with increased level of support. Approximately 90 per cent of adoptions are of children born in the UK. The majority will have been taken into care because of chronic neglect, abuse or other family dysfunction. By the time they are adopted they may have been moved between a number of different foster families and their average age will be around four years.

PAC-UK will provide services from Northumberland and Sefton in the north to Hampshire, West Sussex and Devon in the south with a total of more than 100 local authorities benefiting from its expertise.

Chief Executive Peter Sandiford, who was himself adopted and who spent time in residential care in the 1950s says: "Whatever your personal political views this Government, more than any other, has championed the needs of adopted children and their new families.

“PAC-UK will work with the Government and in collaboration with other agencies, to put in place systems that ensure all people affected by adoption and other forms of permanence are supported and enabled to live their lives to the full.”

PAC-UK Chair of Trustees and an adoptive parent, Paula Newson Smith, adds: "Adoption is about giving children the best chance of family life when, through no fault of their own, they are unable to grow up within their birth families. However, adoption can come with challenges that are often underestimated.

“This is a really exciting time in adoption support services and PAC-UK, as an amicable merger of two respected charities with successful track records, is ideally placed to grow and develop improved services across the country."

The charity will have offices in London and Leeds and brings together a multi-disciplinary team of more than 70 staff and volunteers with an extensive range of skills and expertise in working therapeutically with children, adoptive families, other permanent carers, adopted adults and birth parents.


For more information please contact Susan Osborne, Director of Communications, The Goodwork Organisation, on 07836 229208. Photo available on request.


  • 5,206 adoptions were entered into the Adopted Children Register (ACR) following court orders made in England (4,835) and Wales (371) during 2013
  • 3,980 children were adopted from care during the year ending 31st March 2013
  • 51% (2,010) of children adopted during the year ending 31st March 2013 were boys and 49% (1,970) were girls.

The average age at adoption in the year ending 31st March 2013 was 3 years 8 months

  • 2% (90) of children adopted during the year ending 31st March 2013 were under 1 year old
  • 74% (2,960) were aged between 1 and 4 years old
  • 21% (850) were aged between 5 and 9 years old
  • 2% (70) were aged between 10 and 15 years old
  • <1% (10) were aged 16 or over
  • 83% (3,310) of looked after children adopted during the year ending 31st March 2013 were white
  • 11% (430) were of mixed racial background
  • 3% (100) were Black or Black British
  • 2% (60) were Asian or Asian British
  • 1% (40) were from other ethnic groups
  • 1% (40) were other (refused or information not yet available)

90% (3,560) of children were adopted by couples and 10% (420) by single adopters during the year ending 31st March 2013.

6% (230) of children were adopted by same sex couples (either in a civil partnership or not) during the year ending 31st March 2013, up from 4% (160) in the previous year.

69% (2,740) children were placed for adoption within 12 months of an agency decision that the child should be placed for adoption during the year ending 31st March 2013.

Peter Sandiford has worked in services for looked after and adopted children for 40 years. His experience includes managing residential care services, managing practice learning, lecturing and working as a development manager for National Children’s Bureau. He is trained as a social worker, family therapist and practice teacher and holds a Diploma in Management Studies. Peter has led significant projects including the NCB project Improving Educational Opportunities for Looked After Children, and the Inside Outside project working with birth mothers in prison and through the gateway as part of the Cabinet Office Social Exclusion Unit. Peter was himself adopted and acknowledges the impact of this on his life. He is a stepparent and grandparent.

Paula Newson-Smith chaired the Board of Trustees for AAY (After Adoption Yorkshire) after retiring from full time work in 2010; she is also a director of a not for profit company in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, working to achieve sustainable rural communities. Paula has extensive experience of developing and managing public services, having worked for over 35 years across various local authorities. She has held senior roles, including assistant director, and has worked with a range of partners to deliver effective and innovative community services. Paula currently works part time with school governing bodies and has also trained as a mentor and community mediator. Paula is an adoptive parent, stepparent and grandparent.