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A message from Jay Vaughan during lockdown

Dear families, professional colleagues and friends of Family Futures,

Well we are now entering our sixth week of lockdown at Family Futures and seeing virtual working as something that will need to be in place for some time.

It has been an adjustment for all of the team but we are proud that we are still managing to provide support to our families, albeit virtually, our advice line is open and we have just had our first virtual panel! We have also just launched a series of Webinars to support parents with the first one, a Webinar with Dr Daniel Hughes, booking fast!

Lockdown has been hard for lots of the families we have been in touch with as they have been struggling to manage the stress of the pandemic and how much this situation is triggering trauma issues for their children.

For anyone who has a traumatic history feeling the world is no longer a safe place and other people can potentially be a source of fear is highly evocative. This is no longer a fear state that is just based on a traumatic history but a fear that is based on the reality of what is happening in the here and now. In this way a fear based survival response is a healthy reasonable response to the situation. For children who have had other traumatic experiences in their lives, which mean that their nervous systems are wired to stress, then the extent to which they are activated is much more extreme.

We are in a war situation and at such times calming our stress response so we can make good strategic decisions about how to survive is key.

Calming our nervous system is even more important than it would be in other war situations as it is our bodies that are under attack! We absolutely need to support our nervous system now, more than ever, so that our immune systems are in a good shape to manage the attack.

So how do we manage such immense stress and keep sane?

We need to be curious about how we are managing this stress, asking ourselves:

  • How is our body managing this crisis?
  • Is our heart beating faster?
  • What increases our heart rate?
  • What calms our heart rate?
  • How is our breathing?
  • Is that faster too?
  • Are we breathing higher in our chests?
  • What can make our breathing calm?
  • Can the breathing settle lower in the belly?
  • How is our skin temperature?
  • Is it hotter or colder at different times of the day?
  • Are some bits of our body constantly too cold or too hot?
  • What feels a good body temperature?
  • Do we have more aches and pains than normal?
  • Do we have more somatic symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches etc?

So we just need to notice and be curious about what our body is telling us:

  • What information is our body sharing with us?
  • We need to think what resources us?
  • How can we calm our stress response?
  • What nurtures us and helps us feel good inside?
  • What or who helps us manage optimally at times of stress?

As parents we need to look after ourselves first, and our own body and nervous system responses, so that we are able to attend to our children’s nervous systems too. We need to find our own ‘oxygen mask’ and put this on so that we can in turn help our children put on their ‘oxygen mask’ too.

We are living in extraordinary times and what is happening in the world was unthinkable to most of us only a few months ago. We keep the hope that this time will pass and life will return to something more akin to ‘normal’ in the future. But for now we should be kind to ourselves and have compassion for ourselves as we are managing as best we can.

With love from Jay and all the team at Family Futures

27 April 2020

Jay will be running 2 self-care webinars for parents/carers on 27 May, 8-9pm and 11 June, 2-3pm

Jay Vaughan is the CEO and Registered Manager at Family Futures CIC. Jay is a Certified Theraplay therapist and supervisor as well as a Theraplay trainer. She is also a state registered Dramatherapist, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapist and Somatic Experience Practitioner.

If you have a question for us at Family Futures about how we can support you at this time of heightened stress and anxiety, please email us or call our advice line: 020 7354 4161.

New live webinars with Dr Dan Hughes

Dear Dan Webinar – Dan Hughes answers parents & carers’ questions

How to parent as you hope to during the lockdown

18 May 2020, 2-5pm live online (with a half-hour break from 3.15-3.45pm)

Family Futures is inviting adoptive parents, foster carers and kinship carers to sign up to a live online webinar on 18 May with Dr Dan Hughes, founder of DDP. Dan will be offering parenting ideas to inspire you and creative ways to help children (and their parents) experience safety in spite of the anxious times we are living through.

Find out more and book your place here

COVID-19 Adoption Support Fund scheme announced

See our new Covid-19 Emergency Support treatment packages here.

The government announced on 10 April a widening of the scope of support covered by the ASF for adoptive families. The COVID-19 Adoption Support Fund will be available “to pay for different types of therapeutic support for families whose adopted children may have already suffered trauma and be made more anxious owing to the uncertainty of the effects of the virus.”

£8 million of adoption support funding will be made available to help adoptive families across England, recognising the “greater stress due to children with attachment and trauma needs being isolated at home and having their routine disrupted, which can lead to an increase in adoption breakdown and child to parent violence.”

You can read the Department for Education’s press release here.

Family Futures is open and running our assessment and therapeutic treatment services through secure, digital platforms. We are also accepting new referrals.

Adoption Support Fund and Coronavirus FAQs for service providers – published by the DfE

Sensory activities to do at home

These tactile rich sensory activities are recommended by our Paediatric OT team as a great way for children to have fun while at home.

No-yeast pizza dough – a quick and easy recipe your children can make

The following are NOT EDIBLE and need adult supervision!

How to make your own slime – 2 recipes for homemade slime

How to make play dough – an easy recipe with tips

Have fun! If you want to send us photos of your creations you can send them by email to and we will update this page with new pictures!

Christine Gordon

We were deeply saddened to hear that Christine Gordon, one of the founding members of Family Futures, died recently in a car accident in Costa Rica.  

Christine was an adoptive parent full of enthusiasm and passion for supporting adopters. She completely understood the struggles many adopters were facing, at a time when these were not widely acknowledged, and would do everything she could to help adoptive families, day or night. Christine was much loved by other adopters and a driving force behind setting up Family Futures in 1998.

Christine was Scottish and loved her bike and adventures in the great outdoors. She was one of only a few women to have completed climbing all the Munros in Scotland and went on to climb all the Furths (the plus-3000ft mountains in England, Wales and Ireland). In doing so, Christine became the first woman to climb all of Ireland’s mountains. Christine travelled to all the continents including Antarctica, and loved walking and cycling in different countries around the world. She set up a YouTube channel with videos of travel and hill walking to inspire others to pursue their own adventures and travels.

All of us at Family Futures would like to offer our sincere condolences to Christine’s family and loved ones. A truly inspiring lady who made a huge difference to the lives of the many adoptive families she was dedicated to.

We are open and running our services to support you at this difficult time

Family Futures is committed to supporting children and families at this difficult and stressful time. We are open and running our assessment and therapeutic treatment services through secure, digital platforms. We are also accepting new referrals.

Our advice line is here for you:

Email: or call 020 7354 4161

Letter from Jay Vaughan to families – Read more…

Adoption Support Fund and Coronavirus FAQs for service providers – published by the DfE

Letter from Jay Vaughan to families

Dear families, parents, children and young people,  

I hope you are all keeping well and safe.  

The advice on managing the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation is changing daily, and the most important consideration is of course the health and wellbeing of us all! With this in mind the whole team at Family Futures has been thinking about how we can continue to support you all.  

Our aim as an agency is to ensure that we continue to provide you with support and to ensure that we survive as an agency so we can provide a service post this crisis.  

We have been working out an individual support plan for each family in treatment at Family Futures and also for families who had or are about to have an assessment. We will be offering your support plan remotely, for instance via virtual forums.  We are asking you to agree to this support programme as the best way forward, in these unprecedented times, to ensure we offer continued support to your family through this challenging time and to help ensure Family Futures is still here for you after this crisis. I am not sure if all of you are aware we are a small, not for profit organisation with no grant funding, charitable funding or government funding underpinning us so we cover our costs each month by the income we generate by providing assessment, therapy and so on.

We are also planning to keep posting online ideas for families about activities they can do at home and our advice line service will still be running to support you at this time.  

Keep safe all and keep in touch.  

With hugs from all at Family Futures or rather elbow bumps for now!


Jay Vaughan, Registered Manager and CEO

Family Futures, updated 22 March 2020

‘Agency helps children develop more secure attachments’

Family Futures’ innovative practice is highlighted in Children and Young People Now‘s Therapeutic Care supplement, Feb/March 2020

We were delighted to feature in this article in ‘Children and Young People Now’ which highlights our innovative practice in therapeutic care. The article describes our NPP model of therapy & DDP’s emphasis on parental involvement in the therapeutic process.

Coronavirus COVID-19 update

Please read a letter to all our families from Jay Vaughan, Registered Manager and CEO, Family Futures (updated 22 March 2020)

Family Futures is now offering all services virtually (by video, phone or digitally) from Monday 23 March 2020 until further notice. We are taking this step to protect all the families and professionals who use our services, and our staff.

New training for parents and carers, 2020

Announcing our new courses for 2020 designed to support adoptive parents, foster carers, special guardians and kinship carers to parent their child therapeutically. Each course provides life-changing practical techniques and skills as well as an understanding of how trauma affects all aspects of a child’s development. Click on the links below to find out more:

See our full list of courses for parents and carers here

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