Jan Fishwick, Chief Executive of the adoption charity Parents And Children Together (PACT) has been awarded an OBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Jan, who has worked in social care for more than 40 years, becoming a respected leader and advocate in the field of children and families, has been recognised for her service to children and her dedication to the public and voluntary sector.
Over the course of her career she has helped achieve great outcomes for thousands of vulnerable children and families, both locally and nationally.
Jan has been Chief Executive at PACT since 2008, during which time the organisation has developed from a small adoption and fostering team to one of the largest voluntary adoption agencies in the UK.
During her time at the helm 762 children have been placed with their forever family. Earlier this year the agency was again rated as outstanding following an Ofsted inspection, retaining the top rating it was first awarded in 2014.
A courageous and collaborative innovator, Jan has also helped advise and influence government policy on radical reform of adoption services through her work for the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA) and as a member of the Adoption Leadership Boards in both London and the South East.
Jan, said she was “humbled and delighted” to receive the honour in recognition of her work.
She said: “Notification of the award came as a great surprise to me as much of the work that PACT and CVAA undertake involves extensive team working and collaboration.
“Having worked in the rewarding world of social care for more than 40 years, I have considerable respect for my dedicated colleagues and for the beneficiaries we serve. I have always promoted focusing our team efforts on improving the life chances of children and families, and I am very proud of what we have helped achieve.”
Jan’s career in social work began in 1975 as Deputy Matron of a 12-bed children’s home where she first gained an understanding of the need for early intervention for families and also encountered children waiting for adoptive families. Before joining PACT, she worked in several local authorities at senior levels.
Through her work at PACT she has helped bring stability to countless children and families through adoption, adoption support and via its community projects.
Her innovative thinking led to the launch of PACT’s unique Dual Approval scheme where parents were simultaneously approved to adopt and foster, and she was an influential supporter of the Home for Good campaign, a project reaching out to Christians to encourage them to adopt, with PACT taking part in the pilot scheme.
Jan was also a crucial part of the steering group that brought in the innovative adoption scheme It’s All About Me (IAAM), which uses social impact bonds to fund targeted family-finding for some of the country’s most vulnerable children.
She also led the development of PACT’s specialist services into its Family and Children Therapeutic Support (FACTS) service, which was voted ‘Voluntary Adoption Service of the Year’ in the BAAF National Adoption Week Awards 2013.
It was under her leadership that PACT also broadened its remit to support people in the community through projects including Bounce Back 4 Kids (BB4K), which was launched in 2010 to support children and adults affected by domestic abuse, and Alana House, supporting vulnerable women. In 2014 Alana House won an award from the Howard League for Penal Reform in the Community Programme for Women category.
Ray Shostak CBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the CVAA, which Jan has been a board member of since 2009, and which she chaired from 2012 to 2014, said she justly deserved recognition for her contribution to the lives of thousands of young people and families, both locally and nationally, throughout her career.
“She gives generously her time to both the work of the board and in supporting colleagues as a respected leader within the field. She strives to collaborate, respects the views and opinions of others and is always ready to find solutions. She is a truly remarkable professional and leader.”
Jim Brown, Chairman of PACT’s Executive Board, added: “The trustees and staff at PACT are so pleased to hear about this award. Jan is an inspirational leader who has guided PACT successfully for the past nine years. The wider adoption sector has also benefitted greatly from Jan’s drive and direction over many years. However, this recognition is much about Jan the individual, a caring and humane person, an excellent professional with a passionate belief in helping families and children.”