Recent News

  • 27th June 2018

    PACT welcomes plans for community provision for female offenders

    PACT welcomes the news that the Ministry of Justice is planning to invest £5m in community provision for female offenders as an alternative to prison. We also agree with the Magistrates Association’s call for women who commit minor crimes to be given support rather than a custodial sentence.Our award-winning Alana House women’s community project has been working with vulnerable and distressed women, including those who have offended, for eight years and we have seen first-hand the difference this methodology makes to women and their children and families.Alana House uses a trauma-informed holistic approach to support women to take control of their lives, divert them from crime by supporting them to make informed decisions and improve their life chances. Many of the women who come to Alana House have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences including domestic abuse, poor mental health, alcohol or substance misuse, poverty, unemployment and isolation.Alana House supports women by giving them opportunities to make courageous and positive changes that significantly impact not only their lives and those of their children but also the wider community.A Social Return on Investment report into Alana House found that the “life-changing” effects of Alana House’s work delivered more than £35m of economic and social value, in the lives of these women and their children, every year.PACT’s Chief Operating Officer Natausha van Vliet said: “We would welcome the opportunity for PACT to work with the Ministry of Justice and help to inform the planning of the trial of residential centres and how this will support and contribute to the valuable work being carried out in women’s centres like Alana House around the country.” 

  • 12th June 2018

    Happy Father’s Day from PACT

    FOR 54 dads who have adopted children through Parents And Children Together (PACT) over the last year Father's Day on Sunday 17th June will be extra special.The adoption charity, which supports families across the south east and beyond through outstanding adoption services, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects, placed 74 children with 54 dads over the last 12 months.One of the leading adoption charities in the country, PACT specialises in finding secure and loving homes for those priority children who can be harder to place and can face the longest wait for their forever family. These include children over four years old, in sibling groups of two or three, of BME heritage or with additional needs.There are currently more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England.One new PACT dad, Ralph, who has been sharing his experiences of adopting via his blog, said he was really looking forward to celebrating Father's Day with his growing family. Ralph said: "I cannot wait to enjoy my first Father's Day as a daddy, sharing the joy and happiness that our children bring to us. Our growing family means Father's Day this year will be even more poignant as I now better appreciate how much effort it takes to provide such a loving family." Jan Fishwick OBE, Chief Executive of PACT, said: "We are proud to have helped so many fantastic men to become fathers through adoption over the years. We wish all our PACT dads a very happy Father's Day. "Adopting a child, and giving them the love, security and stability of a forever family, is a wonderful thing to do, and we are always keen to hear from anyone else who thinks they can do this. Please do get in touch if you would like to find out more."

  • 05th June 2018

    PACT appeals for more adopters for black and minority ethnic children

    ADOPTION charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) is appealing for more people to consider adopting children of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) heritage.PACT offers outstanding adoption services to families across the South East and last year placed 82 children with 57 families. There are currently more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England.PACT is particularly looking for couples or individuals, including those from the LGBT community, who are themselves of BME heritage who could provide a home to BME children, who often wait the longest to be adopted.To help people find out more the agency is holding a special event featuring a panel of people who have adopted BME children through PACT, who will be sharing their adoption stories and answering questions about their experiences.The adoption Q&A event is being held in Pimlico, London on Saturday 16th June from 10am until 12pm. It will also give people the chance to talk individually with experienced adopters and PACT social workers as well as to meet other prospective adopters.One of the adopters taking part in the panel is Marcia, who with her husband Ian, adopted sisters Summer*, who was two years old, and Rachel*, who was 16 months old, through PACT in 2015. Marcia is Black British with a Guyanese/Jamaican family heritage, and Ian was born in Jamaica. Summer and Rachel are of Caribbean family heritage.Marcia said she felt that identity should be given careful consideration when matching children with adoptive parents."I just think that in their lives my girls will have 101 extra things to deal with because they are adopted so if issues over identity can be avoided, why not avoid them. For me I am absolutely determined to do what I can to make my girls proud of who they are, and I know I can help them with that."Marcia encouraged people of BME heritage to consider adoption, and not to be put off by the adoption process and the scrutiny that was involved, particularly for those whose cultural background may be different.She said: "I think it's the things you have been through, particularly the painful parts, that help you relate to the children you are adopting. You realise that what you have experienced is what your children might experience and that you can help them through that."PACT's Chief Executive Jan Fishwick OBE said although there is no legal requirement for adoption agencies to consider a child's racial, cultural and linguistic background when a placement is made, there are obvious advantages to matching children with adoptive parents who are from a similar ethnicity.She said: "As a child, being able to identify with your main care provider, visually, culturally, historically and emotionally, will ultimately improve the chances of a more stable and enriched childhood."We are really keen to do what we can to reduce the time that children of BME heritage have to wait for their forever family. Please do come along to our event or get in touch with us if you would like to find out more."The event on Saturday 16th June will start with a brief presentation about the adoption process followed by the question and answer session with the panel of adopters. It is free to attend, but people will need to book a place by calling 0300 456 4800 or emailing*Names have been changed to protect identities

  • 17th May 2018

    Our Alana House work in West Berkshire

    Our Alana House work in West Berkshire is changing. From the end of May 2018 we will no longer be delivering our vulnerable women's service funded through Public Health. This service will instead be run by Berkshire Women's Aid (BWA) from Friday 1 June and will continue to be available to any vulnerable women, not just those experiencing domestic abuse. We are working closely with Public Health and BWA to ensure a smooth transition, particularly for those women being supported by this service.Alana House will continue to work in West Berkshire through its Building Better Opportunities project, which is funded by the Lottery and the European Social Fund. The focus of the Building Family Bridges programme, which we offer throughout the Thames Valley, is to work with women who would like to secure employment or engage in training or education. We will continue to support women with additional needs as we support them into employment, however will no longer be able to work with women in West Berkshire who are currently employed or are ineligible to work, or who are in crisis or who have complex (three or more) needs, as they will need to be referred to BWA.For more information about Alana House, including contact details and referral forms, please see

  • 09th May 2018

    PACT and OPP partnership launched

    FAMILY support charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) and business psychology provider OPP Limited (OPP) are embarking on a charity partnership starting in May 2018.OPP received nominations for 19 charities after it invited employees to champion its first charity partnership opportunity. They selected PACT because of the fantastic opportunities for the two organisations to collaborate and potentially make a ground-breaking difference to the adoption process.Staff at OPP are already involved in fundraising and raising awareness for PACT, with a team of 11 taking part in the Oxford Town & Gown 10k race. Others are joining PACT's Marathon in May challenge and are aiming to run, walk, cycle or swim 26.2 miles during the month of May.These initiatives dovetail with OPP's commitment to the wellness of its workforce and to making a difference to the local community which OPP is a part of.PACT is one of the UK's leading independent adoption agencies, and last year placed 82 children with 57 adoptive families. PACT also runs award-winning adoption support services and community projects including Alana House for vulnerable women including those at risk of offending, and Bounce Back 4 Kids which works with children affected by domestic abuse.PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick OBE said: "We are thrilled and excited to have been chosen by OPP as their charity partner. We have been so impressed by the level of engagement OPP staff have had with our services and the number of challenges and events planned already."We are also very excited about working with OPP on a project where their expertise could offer an innovative development to improve the adoption process."OPP's Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Liam O'Connor added: "Our employees have done great things to support a range of local charities in the past, but we are truly delighted to be embarking on our first official charity partnership with PACT. They are a fantastic organisation with a genuine passion to create positive change in the way the adoption process works for parents and children. This struck a real chord with our staff and echoes our own desire to enable people to lead more successful and fulfilling lives."

  • 26th April 2018

    Can you complete a Marathon in May for PACT?

    ADOPTION charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) has launched an exciting new fundraising appeal that challenges people to complete a marathon in a month in support of its work!To take part in Marathon in May people need to cover 26.2 miles during the month of May. Participants can run, walk, cycle or swim the miles and can cover the distance either individually or together as a family or team of colleagues or friends. All the proceeds will be used to help PACT's work building and strengthening families. The charity supports families across the south east and beyond through adoption, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects.Jan Fishwick OBE, Chief Executive of PACT, said: "Marathon in May is a fun and easy way in which people of all ages and abilities can support our work by completing the challenge however they would like, whether walking a mile a day, or running or cycling a few miles every weekend. It's also perfect for families who can take part together, and for children to enjoy the sense of achievement that comes from completing a challenge for a good cause."It costs £12 per adult to register, which includes a medal and a colour-in chart to track your progress. Children taking part alongside a registered adult can take part for free but extra medals can be ordered for £2.50. Participants can also choose to further support PACT’s work by getting sponsored to complete a Marathon in May. PACT's Fundraising Manager Lina Artunduaga added: "We're all really excited by this challenge and are delighted to see it being so well received by staff, PACT families, corporate partner colleagues and other supporters."As a small charity we are always looking for new ways to raise funds to help us continue our vital work and we look forward to this challenge becoming part of our annual fundraising programme. Thank you to everyone who has signed up already and good luck to all taking part in Marathon in May!" The deadline for people to register is Friday 4th May. To find out more and to register see If you would like more information or have any questions please get in touch with our Fundraising Team by emailing or calling 0118 402 1696.

  • 19th April 2018

    PACT adopters encouraged to take part in new exhibition about adoption

    Parents And Children Together (PACT) is taking part in an exciting new exhibition as part of a project called: The Museum of Ordinary People (MOOP).This initiative aims to celebrate the ripples that ordinary people leave behind, using everyday objects and collections to tell social narratives and write hidden histories and experience into the history books.During the first pop-up museum this May, as part of Brighton's Fringe festival, PACT and MOOP are collaborating to create an exhibition that tells the story of adoption. This will use everyday objects that were significant to families during the adoption process to help share the candid journey of adoption.Artist Lucy Malone, who is also a PACT volunteer, will be curating the exhibition.She said: "We are asking children, parents and social workers to loan an object that was important to them during their adoptive journey. We would like these objects to tell all sides of the story, to be a candid representation of the adoption journey and show both positive and negative experiences, and happy and sad memories."We will take complete care of these objects and return them to you after the exhibition." Objects could include:The first outfit you bought your childThe teddy bear they couldn't live without when they arrivedA picture they drew of your familyThe hairbrush they first let you brush their hair withLucy added that objects cannot be photographs or anything else that is identifiable although she is able to conceal names and addresses on letters or documents.The process is completely confidential and Lucy is DBS checked.PACT adopters who would like to take part are asked to either:Send your objects in (with some brief text about the object and why it was/is significant) to PACT's Brighton office at Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XGTake them into a PACT office in either Reading, Brighton or London (see our Contact Us page for details of addresses)Pass them onto your PACT Social WorkerThe deadline for objects to be submitted is Tuesday 15th May.Lucy added: "If you or your child have anything you would like to submit we would love to hear from you, please do get in touch if you would like to take part or if you have any questions."Lucy can be contacted at lucy.malone@pactcharity.orgParents and children will be very welcome to attend the exhibition, which will be on at The Spire in East Brighton from Tuesday 29th May to Sunday 3rd June. For more information see

  • 19th April 2018

    Award-winning programme for women hosts round table discussion for leaders in criminal justice sector

    LEADING figures from the criminal justice sector have come together to discuss innovative new approaches to policing as part of celebrations to mark an award won by a Reading-based community programme.A round table discussion on the theme of Partnerships and Trauma-Informed Practice was jointly hosted by Alana House, Reading, and the Howard League for Penal Reform yesterday (Tuesday 17th April). The discussion was chaired by Graham Barker, High Sheriff of Berkshire 2018/19 and among the attendees were Reading Police Area Commander Supt Stan Gilmour, Chief Executive of Berkshire Community Foundation Gerry Lejeune OBE and representatives from business, statutory, criminal justice, charity, health and social care sectors. The event highlighted the benefits of using a trauma-informed approach to tackle penal reform, the current local issues, identified gaps in services available, and encouraged participants to suggest solutions, explore ways of working together and to pledge to take ownership and action. It was followed by a party at Alana House to mark the project's eighth birthday and to celebrate the Howard League award won by the Alana House-based Enrich Programme. The Enrich Programme was developed in response to partners identifying a need to work together to better support women who have reached crisis point, often experiencing domestic abuse, poor mental health, substance misuse, poverty, unemployment and isolation.The Enrich programme partners Alana House (PACT), Thames Valley Police, IRIS and Reading Borough Council aimed to: Help women develop resilience, life skills, self-esteem and confidence Reduce criminal behaviour by encouraging women to make better informed decisions Reduce vulnerability, and reduce the costs to statutory services (police, ambulance and A&E). In its pilot phase, all the women attending the Enrich Programme reported increased self-esteem and confidence and 100% saw a reduction in calls on police time. Alana House is run by family support charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) and was established in 2010 to provide holistic support vulnerable and distressed women including those at the edge of the criminal justice system. The Howard League for Penal Reform hosts annual awards to celebrate best practice in diversionary work and champion work in the community that challenges and changes people for the better. The Howard League believes that projects which help to keep people out of the criminal justice system, by providing alternative, effective and targeted interventions will reduce the risk of re-offending.Speaking after the event, Supt Stan Gilmore said:"The idea of the event was to celebrate the award but also to move forward and keep developing this way of working that we piloted so successfully. "There was lots of interest and energy from the people in the room and it is vitally important that we continue to work together in partnership as this needs to be extended to other geographies." Graham Barker said: "This is a significant award and I am so pleased that the Howard League, one of the oldest penal reform organisations in the world, has recognised the value of this project in Reading and how it represents a model for all sorts of projects." PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick OBE said: "It was an honour to partner with the Howard League to host this special event as part of the celebrations for the award won by the Enrich Programme. "At Alana House, our aim is to give women opportunities to make courageous and positive changes that benefit not only their lives and the lives of their families but also the wider community. At this round table event we have been able to share the successes and learnings from our Enrich Programme with influential figures from the sector." Howard League Chief Executive Frances Crook said: "I am so pleased to be a part of the celebrations. This project represents women working together, supporting each other and achieving wonderful things. It is a fantastic way of working and I will be doing my best to share this widely."

  • 05th April 2018

    Marathon challenge for Team PACT

    SIX runners are limbering up to run the London Marathon on Sunday 22nd April on behalf of adoption charity Parents And Children Together (PACT).PACT's team of runners comprises:Beckie, 43, from Reading -, 27, from Witney, Oxfordshire -, 35, from North Wales -, 44, from Wokingham, Berkshire -, 32, from Woodley, Reading -, 50, from Sunningdale, Berkshire - details about each runner can be found at runner is aiming to raise £1,500 for the charity, which supports families across the south east through adoption, award-winning therapeutic support and community projects. PACT Chief Executive Jan Fishwick OBE said: "We are so grateful to all six runners who have been working really hard, not only to train for the race, but also to raise funds for our work. Their efforts will make such a difference to the families and children we work with. I would like to thank them all and wish them lots of luck for the big day!" PACT is one of the UK's leading independent adoption agencies, and last year placed 82 children with 57 families. There are currently more than 2,000 children waiting to be adopted in England.PACT is particularly looking for couples or single people, including those from the LGBT community, who can consider adopting children over four years old, sibling groups of two or more children, children with a black or minority ethnic background and children who may have additional needs. For information about PACT and its adoption services, please visit, call 0300 456 4800 or email