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Event Tag: neuropsychological

The Neuropsychological and Mental Health Profiles of Children Adopted from Care: Support Needs in the Context of Family Formation

Who this is for

Adoption practitioners and managers (Voluntary Adoption Agencies, Regional Adoption Agencies and Local Authorities) and Independent Professionals.


Early life adversity can have profound and long-term consequences for neurodevelopment. There is considerable evidence that exposure to early life stress, such as neglect and maltreatment, can result in alterations to pertinent neurobiological systems associated with cognitive dysfunction and increase vulnerability to mental health problems. Most children adopted from the public care system in the UK are removed from their birth family following experiences of abuse or neglect.

The depth of research provided that in turn inform practice was really excellent. Professor Shelton and Dr Paine were able to translate their findings into context that will really help shape and inform how we can effectively deliver services in the future” Attendee, 2022

As an intervention, adoption drastically alters a child’s circumstances in a way which may compensate for adversity experienced in early life. However, adoptees remain more likely to experience emotional and behavioural problems that endure into later life. Adopted children are also overrepresented within clinical settings and lag their classmates academically. The Wales Adoption Cohort Study (2015-2020) had the overarching aim of increasing understanding of the factors that supported successful outcomes for Welsh children adopted from care.

Gave information about research which was new to me. A lot to consider in terms of developing or changing practice. Posed some hard questions around what the future of adoption should look like in relation to contact, given significance of social media in our lives. Allowed time to discuss with colleagues, share experiences which is always useful, and hear different perspectives..” Attendee, 2022

This evidence seminar will:

  • profile the neuropsychological and mental health of Welsh children adopted from care in 2015 and consider the impact of family relationship quality on later psychological health and
  • examine post adoption sibling relationships including consideration of children placed together and apart
  • apply what we have learned from the Cohort Study to the policy and practice of adoption support, with specific reference to the NAS all Wales adoption support plan

Learning outcomes

  • An understanding of the mental health and neuropsychological profile of children adopted from care
  • An understanding of the experiences of family life in the 5 years after adoption, including relationship quality and changes in employment pattern
  • A sense of how children’s mental health is associated with family functioning
  • Insight into the development and preparation of the good practice guide for adoption support: the purpose and value to the sector of an agreed format covering all aspects of adoption support

About the trainers

Professor Katherine Shelton

Professor Katherine is a developmental psychologist with 20 years experience of research and teaching in the field of family functioning and child development. Her research is focused on identifying and understanding the psychological and social needs of vulnerable children and young people. Over the past 5 years, she has led an inter-disciplinary, longitudinal study investigating the experiences and early support needs of adoptive families and their children.

Dr Amy Paine

Dr Amy is an early career researcher who works at the intersection of developmental, social, and cognitive psychology, and uses observation, neurocognitive assessments, and longitudinal methods to study child development. She is particularly interested children’s interactions with family members and friends in relation to their social and cognitive skills and mental health.

Sarah Coldrick

Sarah is the legal consultant with AFA Cymru and has over thirty years’ experience in all aspects of childcare law. She and her colleague, Helen Hawksworth, were commissioned by the National Adoption Service for Wales to create four good practice guides for adoption, including the guide on adoption support. Sarah is an adoptive parent, 20 years into family life with three sisters.

Wendy Keidan

Wendy is the CEO of St. David’s Children Society which also encompasses AFA Cymru. She has 36 years’ experience in all aspects of permanency planning for children with specific emphasis on the needs of children and young people growing up in an adoptive family. She has particular interest in how we can most effectively support children and their parents in the early years and as those needs evolve and change over time. St. David’s Children Society is a partner in the National Adoption Service and celebrated 80 years of delivering adoption services in 2022.

You will be able to network with practitioners from other agencies, share best practice and glean new ideas.


A member of staff will be in touch with attendees one week prior to the event to share a pre-event delegate pack.

If you have any questions regarding this webinar, please contact us at We will aim to answer your query within two working days.

CVAA accept online payments only. In case you do not have instant access to your company card, we suggest using your personal card instead to book a training event and claim it back with your agency in your expenses. Requesting an invoice to pay for our standard practice events is not possible.