An introduction to Adoption UK
Adoption UK is a national charity providing support, information, advice and training to
prospective adopters, adoptive families and long-term foster carers. Founded in 1971 as
PPIAS (Parent to Parent Information on Adoption Services), Adoption UK now has a
membership of about 5,000 families and prospective families, including those with
experience of all kinds of adoption. Established as a self-help membership organisation
for adopters, Adoption UK remains true to its roots through continuing to provide services
for adopters by adopters.
Adoption UK members receive a range of services for their annual membership fee, as
National telephone helpline – open five days a week, between 10.00 am and 4.00
pm, the helpline staff offer up-to-date information on all aspects of adoption and the
Local support groups – access to groups run by adoptive parent co-ordinators, who
hold regular meetings and events nationwide to provide support and information-
Adoption Today - our bi-monthly magazine, includes news and features on adoption,
book and video reviews, articles on adoptive family life, including information on
attachment and the effects of separation, loss, abuse and neglect on children adopted
Children Who Wait – our monthly magazine and online service containing colour
photos and profiles of children waiting for new families.
Training programmes and courses – developed for both adoptive families and
practitioners, Adoption UK’s training (developed and delivered by adoptive parent
trainers) helps parents whose children suffer from attachment difficulties brought on
by hurt and damage in their past. Training includes the six-module “It’s A Piece of
Cake?” Parent Support Programme and individual courses on “Telling About
Adoption”, “Getting Ready for Placement”, “Contact and the Adopted Child”,
“Parenting Adopted Teenagers”, “Foetal Alcohol and Drug-affected Children” and
“Children Who Struggle at School”.
Adoption UK’s Online Community – www.adoptionuk.org – an award-winning
interactive website with news, information and message boards.
Information leaflets and publications – covering medical, educational and behavioural
issues related to adoption.
Lending library – a postal service offering a choice from over 400 books and videos.
Policy work and lobbying on behalf of adoptive families.
Adoption UK currently employs 50 staff, 32 trainers, over 70 support group coordinators
and 30 buddies. About two-thirds of the employed staff are based at Adoption UK’s head
office in Banbury. We also have offices in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Adoption UK is a charitable trust, the work of which is overseen by a Board of Trustees
(comprising 12 trustees). The Board of Trustees meets quarterly. It also operates a
Finance Committee and a Human Resources Committee which each meet approximately
Helpline Adviser – Adoption UK background – September 2012 1
four to six times a year to scrutinise and monitor the financial management of the
charity, and the charity human resources policies and issues, respectively.
Adoption UK also has five Advisory Groups. Three cover our work in Northern Ireland,
Scotland and Wales, and comprise parents and practitioners who advise the organisation
on adoption policy and practice issues relevant to those countries. The fourth covers our
Media and Policy work and consists of adoptive parents drawn from the membership, who
have particular knowledge and expertise in the fields of media, PR and policy work. The
fifth covers our Training and Education work and consists of adoptive parents with
knowledge and expertise in the field of education and training.
The development of Adoption UK
Adoption UK has grown dramatically since it was founded 40 years ago. This growth has
been most noticeable in the last ten years during which the staff numbers have
increased, levels of income and expenditure have grown and the work of the charity has
diversified. Over the last decade, Adoption UK has moved from being a largely volunteer-
run charity to become a significant national organisation with a head office in Banbury
and separate offices in the other nations of the UK. Alongside the income it has
traditionally generated from the Children Who Wait magazine and membership
subscriptions, revenue from the sales of training courses and programmes and from
adoption support service level agreements with local authorities has now been added.
The charity has developed and grown alongside an increasing awareness of the difficulties
encountered by adoptive families where the children have been adopted from the care
system, due to abuse or neglect experienced in the birth family. This has manifested
itself in an overhaul of the adoption policy and practice within all four nations of the UK.
Adoption UK has seen itself as part of this overhaul and has developed a rolling business
plan to ensure the charity responds to a changing external environment. In particular, it
aims to provide a wider range of support services to adoptive families throughout the
country, to become a central information source for adoptive parents and to reinforce its
position as the leading voice of prospective adopters and adoptive parents.
Furthermore, marketing, communications and fundraising work has become an
increasingly important part of the work of Adoption UK. Following the approval of an
ambitious five-year plan in March 2009, Adoption UK is working to a new set of objectives
between now and 2014, namely:
To provide a range of high quality, accessible and responsive parent to parent
services, reflecting the spectrum of adoptive families’ needs (i.e., generalist and
specialist) and their diversity.
To become the leading organisation in supporting parents/families who have adopted
children from the care system in the UK.
To become the thought-leader on adoptive family issues, clearly articulating current
issues and future solutions and strategies.
To become a key campaigning organisation on adoptive family issues.
As part of meeting these objectives, we expect the charity to grow in size in the next five
years, with campaigning and fundraising becoming key parts of what we do. The success
of our plans will ensure that Adoption UK will be in a stronger position in years to come to
meet the increasingly complex needs of adoptive parents and their children.
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The post of Helpline Adviser
The post holder is fundamental to the aims and objectives of Adoption UK in providing
information, advice and support to all Adoption UK members as well as other enquirers.
The post holder will work as part of a team responding to incoming calls as well as email
enquiries. Calls can range from initial enquiries about adoption to calls about support
needs. Initial and ongoing training will be provided.
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