We have appointed our next Chief Executive, Emily Frith, following a highly competitive search. Emily joins Adoption UK from The Office of the Children’s Commissioner, and brings rich experience in children’s mental health, children in care and special educational needs.

The significant trauma experienced by adopted people in their early lives can have lasting impacts. Half of adopted young people aged 16+ have sought help with their mental health and the numbers are rising. 71% of adopted people feel that they need more support than their peers during the transition to adulthood. The right support gives adopted people an equal chance to thrive.

We are making a strategic shift to put the voices and needs of adopted children and adults more firmly at the heart of the charity’s work. This includes investment in UK-wide programmes for young people and adults, specialist therapeutic support and participation in major new research. This work will all be informed by advisory groups of adopted people. Ongoing support for adopters will continue to benefit the adopted children, young people and adults in their families.

At The Office of the Children’s Commissioner, Emily leads on all aspects of children’s policy, including adoption. She also manages a team of Child Rights Advisors, who provide advocacy and representation to around 1,000 children a year.

Emily said: ‘I am passionate about achieving change for children, particularly those who have a difficult start in life, and giving them a voice and control in the decisions that affect them. One my priorities will be to meet AUK’s new adoptee advisory groups and work with them to build relationships with the wider community of adopted people.’

Chair of Adoption UK Mike Ribeiro said: ‘Emily is the right leader at the right time for our organisation. Her extensive experience in policy and public affairs in the fields of health and social care and her work with disadvantaged children give her a really strong platform from which to advocate for all those who are adopted, and the families and professionals around them.’

Emily’s previous roles include Special Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister on health and welfare, heading up a national commission on children’s mental health at the Education Policy Institute, and leadership of External Affairs at Turning Point, the health and social care charity. She is a member of the Oversight Board for NHS England’s taskforce for improving children’s inpatient mental health care. She played a leading role in putting children at the top of the political agenda in decisions relating to the impact of the pandemic and led a campaign which directly led to the investment of £600m in mental health care.

Emily continued: ‘My aim is to ensure the right balance between delivering the support people need right now and influencing policy and practice over the long term. I’m looking forward to helping Adoption UK build on the strong relationships it already has with social workers, education and health practitioners, politicians and sector leaders in all four nations of the UK.’