Satwinder Sandhu

I am CEO of the Intercountry Adoption Centre (IAC) in London, UK.  IAC is not for profit and founded to ensure that prospective adopters wishing to adopt from abroad were suitably prepared, assessed, and supported.  In 23 years, we have grown substantially and work with over 100 families each year and responsible for 85% of all intercountry adoptions taking place in the UK.  We also advise local government on permanence planning for children being placed from the UK. 

I am a qualified social worker and have spent the last 25 years developing my career within adoption, fostering, and child protection settings.  This has been across the public, private and charity sectors.  I have been CEO of IAC since April 2019. 

I feel passionate that all children belong in families and that adoption, a life-changing concept, is just one of the ways that this can be achieved.  I spoke about this in my TEDx talk in 2018  I have spent my career influencing practice to ensure that prospective adopters are supported to achieve the best for their children.  I believe this happens through deep, reflective learning and development on their part and must be backed with robust, life-long adoption support.  

I have seen first-hand how transformative adoption can be for children, but also that its legacy is complex, and so, modernizing adoption is always at the forefront of my thinking and leadership. 

Intercountry adoption requires a range of relationships to be respected and understood, so collaboration is key to achieving safe, lifelong outcomes for children who need adoption.  Intercountry adoption brings with it its own complex challenges and additional issues of loss and separation for children, but I believe that when it is necessary and conducted with the child’s needs at the center of everything, it truly can be transformative.