Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice


Trinity College Dublin

Prof Gordon Harold has been awarded an Adjunct Professor title in the School of Psychology, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.  Congratulations to Prof Harold on the award of this prestigious title.

12 Stories of Sussex

Prof Gordon Harold is a man on a mission - a mission to imporve children's mental health and their life chances.  Follow the link to hear more about Prof Gordon Harold's research.

Sussex professor welcomes major new UK government policy

A major new government policy with vital input from researchers at the University of Sussex was announced today by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Damian Green, and welcomed by the Sussex academic who will work with the government on its implementation.

Professor Gordon Harold, Andrew and Virginia Rudd Professor of Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the University of Sussex, has been working with the (DWP) on research around evidence-based family support interventions, which has in turn led to a new approach from the government.

The DWP paper, Improving lives: Helping workless families, was influenced heavily by the research conducted by Professor Harold and the Early Intervention Foundation and takes on a number of proposals made regarding the importance of evidence-based interventions in improving the long term outcomes of workless families and their children.

As a result of his research, the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Troubled Families programme will aim to embed this focus on evidence-based intervention into the next phase of action, rolling the programme out nationwide to ensure that the parents and children of workless families are sufficiently supported by local authorities.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Professor Harold said: "The announcement made today by the Secretary of State Damian Green and the DWP regarding evidence-based family support interventions constitutes a substantial step in the right direction when it comes to supporting couples and parents with the most significant of responsibilities - promoting children's mental health, educational opportunities and future life chances.

“This announcement is based on our research at the University of Sussex into how inter-parental relationships, whether parents are living together or not, significantly affects children's mental health across all ages.

“We welcome the move to support parents from an early stage and believe it will pay significant long-term dividends for children and future families, with a particular focus on supporting the needs of parents and children who experience economic disadvantage."

The research was supported by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) and Professor Harold has written a blog to mark the release of the policy paper, discussing in further depth the positive effect mental health research can have on children, young people and families. 

Inside Government

Prof Gordon Harold has been invited to chair a major youth mental health event in London on Wednesday 17th May 2017.  This Forum provides the opportunity to discuss changes to mental health provision for children and young people and transform service delivery. Attendees will learn from policy experts and practitioners at the forefront of working in partnership to implement innovative new initiatives and co-design integrated services that are tailored to young people’s needs.


Professor Gordon Harold has been appointed as a Trustee of PAC-UK, the UK's largest independent adoption support agency. 

Rudd Centre Symposium Presentations

Please click on the links for the speakers presentations from the Rudd Centre Symposium on Tuesday 15th November 2016.

Symposium Presentations

Rudd Centre Symposium Presentations Nov 2016


Tuesday 15 November 2016, 9am – 5pm
University of Sussex Conference Centre Bramber House, Refectory Road Brighton BN1 9QU

Aimed at policy makers, national and local government, charities, social care practitioners and family and child support specialists, this symposium will review the very latest research highlighting family relationship influences on child and adolescent outcomes.

The Government has expressed a firm commitment to improving the life chances of children, young people and adults in the UK, emphasising the important role that supportive family relationships play in promoting long-term positive outcomes for children and adolescents (“today’s children, tomorrow’s parents”).

The symposium will highlight very recent practice and policy developments in this area, featuring a broad range of internationally renowned speakers from the fields of child development, adoption and foster care, family and child policy, family law, education and social work.

In particular, the symposium will explore the impacts of recent ground-breaking research led by Professor Gordon Harold of the Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice and School of Psychology at the University of Sussex. Professor Harold’s research has directly informed recent UK Government policy initiatives and planned national support strategies aimed at supporting families and children.  

Led by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), this new research underpins proposed future programme commissioning and emphasises the importance of examining and supporting family relationships (including the couple and parent-child relationships) in promoting improved outcomes for children and adolescents.  

As well as reviewing this research and related policy developments, the symposium will also highlight recommendations being offered to promote and facilitate the next generation of training and capacity building that will help equip practitioners with the skills required to identify needs and deliver evidence-based programmes that promote meaningful and sustained positive impacts for the lives and future life chances of families, parents and children.

Speakers will include:

  • Prof Gordon Harold - Andrew and Virginia Rudd Chair, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice
  • Dr John Simmonds OBE - Director of Policy, Research and Development, CoramBAAF
  • Dr Geoffrey Shannon - Solicitor and Government Special Rapporteur for Child Protection and Chairperson of the Adoption Authority of Ireland
  • Prof Leon Feinstein - Director of Evidence, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, England

Registration for this event is now open.  Follow this link to register

The booking link will close at 12pm on Friday 11 November. If you would like to attend the Symposium, please kindly email the events team with the following information: Title, Full name, Email address, Contact number, Company name.  
You can contact the Events Team at or on 01273 877488.

Early Intervention Foundation

Professor Gordon Harold has been awarded a research grant (£10, 500) and has been appointed as Specialist Advisor to the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) on family relationships, mental health and intervention programme development. This role is linked to specific topics of UK Government policy interest and represents the first phase of a planned wider programme of research and policy related activities.

The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health - ACAMH

Professor Gordon Harold has been appointed Treasurer of the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH), an internationally renowned professional organisation that brings together professionals from a range of disciplines to advance standards and support the professional development of all those working to support the mental health of children and young people.

To support children, focus early on their parents’ relationships

Evidence shows that supporting couples to get on better is critical to improving children’s life chances

The Early Intervention Foundation have carried out a review of ‘What works to enhance inter-parental relationships and improve outcomes for children’ for the Department for Work and Pensions.

The review has been led by Professor Gordon Harold, an expert on the role of the family in children’s psychological development, and Dr. Ruth Sellers from the Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice at the University of Sussex.  Full story here:

The Daily Mail Online - 

The Independent Online - 

Children and Young People Now -

The Telegraph Online – / Press Association -

Nursery World -

Mary Stowe Blog -

The Northwich Guardian -

The South West Farmer -

The Winsford Guardian -

The Bognor Regis Observer -

World News Australia -

Psychology expert joins Economic and Social Research Council

Professor of Psychology, Gordon Harold, has been invited to join the Capability Committee of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).  Full story here:

Prime Minister's Office 10 Downing Street

Professor Gordon Harold was invited to meet with policy advisors and officials from the Prime Minister's Office at 10 Downing Street, to advise on policy developments and future UK strategy focusing on family relationship support and youth mental health.

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

Professor Gordon Harold has been invited to join the Advisory Board of the international leading Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

ESRC Future Leaders Fellowship

Dr. Ruth Sellers has been awarded an ESRC Future Leaders Fellowship, working with Prof. Gordon Harold (and an international network of researchers from the UK, US and New Zealand). The title of the project is "Understanding how family processes affect children's mental health: Implementing an international and interdisciplinary programme of research" (£135,992).

What works to Enhance Inter-parental Relationships and Improve Outcomes for Children

The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) in collaboration with Professor Gordon Harold at the University of Sussex is starting a review for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on what works to enhance inter-parental relationships and improve outcomes for children.

Research Funding Award

Congratulations to Professor Gordon Harold (PI) for having been awarded research funding (£202,000) in collaboration with Professor Gillian Hampden-Thompson (Co-I, School of Education and Social Work) through the Department for Education’s (DfE) Evaluation Framework to evaluate an innovative parenting programme aimed at parents of adopted children (the AdOpt Programme). This work will be conducted in collaboration with the National Implementation Service (NIS).

PhD Students

The Sussex Rudd Centre would like to welcome Amelia Smith and Victoria Simcock our new PhD students starting in September 2015.

Sussex professor welcomes major new UK government policy

4 April 2017

Influential research by Professor Gordon Harold informs a new initiative supporting parents and children of workless families.

Adoption research centre secures life-changing £1.5m gift

15 November 2016

Ground-breaking centre helps define Government policy and innovates in practitioner training.

University of Sussex Rudd Centre set to host adoption symposium

25 August 2016

One-day conference on adoption will feature internationally renowned speakers and focus on the latest adoption research, practice and policy

Psychology expert joins Economic and Social Research Council

2 February 2016

Professor of Psychology, Gordon Harold, has been invited to join the Capability Committee of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Sussex psychologist awarded ESRC grant to study children's mental health

27 October 2015

A Sussex psychologist is to research the challenges facing children and their parents – and how families can be supported to meet those challenges.

Rudd Centre undertakes major evaluation of adoption support programme

30 June 2015

An innovative support programme for adoptive families in the early days of their new life together is to be evaluated by the Sussex Rudd Centre.