Founder of adoption agency receives OBE for contribution to children’s social work

Adoption agency founder Terry Fitzpatrick has said he is “honoured and privileged” to receive an OBE by The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, during a ceremony at Windsor Castle.

Terry was bestowed with the honour for his contribution to children's social work in the North East of England. Part of the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for 2021, due to Covid restrictions he has had to wait to officially receive the award.

Following the ceremony Terry said: "It was a real privilege and honour to be awarded the OBE by The Princess Royal. Whilst I appreciate that it is given as a personal recognition for working over 40 years in children’s social care, this would not have been achieved without the opportunities I have had to work with phenomenally dedicated colleagues and so many wonderful adoptive families.

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"A sincere thank you to you all."

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Before founding the Sunderland-based not-for-profit-agency ARC Adoption North East in 2013, Terry oversaw the family placement services for South Tyneside Council and managed the adoption service for over 24 years. During that time it gained a reputation for being one of the leading lights for adoption and fostering in the UK, and was regularly recognised with outstanding results in various inspections carried out by Government agencies.

Terry’s nomination statement said: “Terry has worked tirelessly to establish partnerships between voluntary adoption services and the statutory sector, helping to build collaboration and trust across the region to enhance and develop services for children and families.”

Terry Fitzpatrick at Windsor Castle with his OBE.

His work during the pandemic was also commended with the statement adding: “The Covid crisis raised issues of identity and separation and loss, for children away from their birth families and who have experienced a number of transitions in their lives.

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"During the Covid outbreak Terry spearheaded ARC BOX, a digital platform to support children and young people with life story work, providing a secure space for them to explore their history and share, on their terms, with those important to them - including birth family members.”

Terry’s colleagues at the ARC adoption team said they were “extremely proud” and “delighted that he has received this recognition for all he has done”.

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