Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice


CoramBAAF Adoption & Fostering Special Edition Quarterly Journal

The Sussex Rudd Centre facilitates a significant contribution to a major new Special Edition of the internationally renowned journal Adoption and Fostering, titled The Impact of Neurobiological Sciences on Family Placement Policy and Practice (2019).

Rudd Centre contribution to CoramBAAF special edition quarterly journal

Sellers, R., Smith, A., Leve, L. D., Nixon, E., Cassell, J., & Harold, G. (2019). Utilising genetically informed research designs to better understand family processes and child development: implications for adoption and foster care focused interventions. Adoption & Fostering, 43(3), 351-371.


Prof Gordon Harold has been reappointed as a Member of the UKRI-ESRC's Strategic Advisory Network (SAN) until March 2021.

Prof Gordon Harold has been appointed as a Member of the Inaugural Methods Advisory Group (MAG) within the Department for Work and Penisons (DWP), working with the DWP's Chief Scientific Advisory and across UKI Government Departments until May 2022.

University of Sussex recognised in UK’s Best Breakthroughs list

Work of psychologist Professor Gordon Harold celebrated for transformational impact on child mental health


University of Sussex research into child mental health has been named as one of the UK’s 100 best breakthroughs for its significant impact on people’s everyday lives.

Professor Gordon Harold, Director of the University’s Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice, is honoured in the UK’s Best Breakthroughs list of the last century for his pioneering work, which has fundamentally shifted the Government’s approach to child mental health.

His research has compellingly dismantled the idea that children are only affected by their genes – instead it shows the positive impact of good parenting and healthy relationships between parents, whether or not they are married, living together or genetically related to their child. He works with families of adopted children, families where children have been born though assisted reproductive techniques such as IVF, and those where parents are divorced or separated.
For full article see

eNurture Mental Health Network Launch

Friday 30th November saw the launch the new UKRI Nurture Network (eNurture), led by Prof Gordon Harold at St Martin in the Fields, London. Over 100 experts from a range of professional disciplines and organisations attended the day. The event consisted of an orientation of the aims of eNurture, background behind the network and how to apply for funding, in addition to the opportunity for collaborative discussion between partners to develop ideas that could be turned into collaborative research projects. It was a fantastic day with lots of innovative discussions about how eNurture can help partners facilitate projects to increase understanding of children and young people’s mental health in a digital world. Further details about applying for funding will be sent in the New Year (if you would like to get started, the application form can be found at  If you would like to join the Network and keep up to date on eNurture activities, sign up at and follow our twitter page @enurturenetwork.

Prof Gordon Harold

Mental Health Networks

Delighted to be leading the eNurture Network and to working with all our eNurture partners.  A great day for children, parents and families. announced by .

Prof Gordon Harold speaking at Parliamentary Event Nov 2017 

Municipal Journal (MJ) Awards 2018

Barnardo's is once again the proud sponsor of the ‘Impact and Learning in Children’s Services’ category at the Municipal Journal (MJ) awards 2018, on Wednesday 27 June at the Hilton Park Lane, London.  Prof Gordon Harold was invited to attend the event in London. 

Prof Gordon Harold at the MJ Awards 2018

Sussex Impact Awards 2018

Professor Gordon Harold, winner of the 2018 Impact Case study 2018 award with Prof Michael Davies, Pro-VC of Research. Prof Harold directly influenced the UK government's overhaul of support services provided to families, which aims to improve child and adolescent mental health outcomes.

Prof Gordon Harold and Prof Michael Davies Pro V-C Research Sussex Impact Awards 2018

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

The JCPP Anuual Research Review Webinar 2018 takes place on 10 April 2018 at 2.30pm.  Register for this event

Join JCPP’s Editor-in-Chief, Professor Edmund Sonuga-Barke and Annual Research Review Editor, Professor Pasco Fearon, as they talk to researchers about the upcoming Annual Research Review in this webinar.

The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry’s (JCPP) Annual Research Review (ARR) is a must-read special issue of the journal that presents a series of major reviews of key topics in the field. This year the ARR consists of 8 reviews, each accompanied by a commentary from a leading expert in the field, on a diverse range of topics addressing, in complementary ways, the key role of the environment in child psychopathology and in leveraging change in the service of prevention and intervention. Topics include epigenetics, stress physiology, neonatal imaging, inter-parental conflict, bullying, autism treatments and suicide. The papers considered together represent the very best of contemporary child psychology and psychiatry research.

About the Speakers

Professor Edmund Sonuga-Barke Professor of Developmental Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience, King’s College London and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Professor Pasco Fearon Chair in Developmental Psychopathology and Joint Course Director for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, University College London, and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Dr Edward Barker Reader, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London.

Professor Jonathan Green Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Manchester and Honorary Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist at Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s Hospitals University NHS Trust.

Professor Gordon Harold Andrew and Virgina Rudd Chair in Psychology and Professor of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, University of Sussex.

Duo of appointments boosts impact of University’s Rudd Centre

                    Professor Leon Feinstein           

                    Professor Gordon Harold           

Two new senior appointments should boost the impact and effectiveness of the University’s Andrew and Virginia Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice (Rudd Centre).

Professor Leon Feinstein has been appointed as Honorary Professor through the Centre.

Professor Feinstein is currently Director of Evidence in the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England. He is a Sussex Economics alumnus. 

In his honorary role, he will work with schools and departments across the University. Professor Feinstein was formerly the Director of Evidence at the Early Intervention Foundation; he has also worked as chief analyst in the Cabinet Office’s Implementation Unit and in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, amongst other senior government positions.

Professor Feinstein says: “I am hugely looking forward to going back to Falmer and to starting this new association. Sussex provides a tremendous academic base for working with people across policy, practice, research and science, as well offering unique undergraduate and postgraduate training potential through this role. I am excited by the opportunity that this position presents to improve both science and future policy advice."

Director of the Rudd Centre, Professor Gordon Harold, has been appointed as Head of Strategic Policy for the Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH). ACAMH is a world-leading charity that sets best practice for practitioners who look after children and young people with mental health problems.

Through this new role at ACAMH, Professor Harold will lead a group of pioneering researchers and practitioners who support children’s and adolescents' mental health.

He will have a particular emphasis on working with young people, their parents and families as well as practitioners,. Professor Harold will work with schools and other agencies in order to improve outcomes for children.

Professor Harold said: “I am very proud that the work of the Sussex Rudd Centre continues to develop new and exciting opportunities that bring national and international attention to its world-leading research, practice and policy activities. I am thrilled that Leon Feinstein has been appointed as an Honorary Professor. It’s wonderful to have someone of his calibre and experience working with us at the University of Sussex.

"The people we support – children, young people, families and the professionals who work to improve outcomes for those who experience specific challenges and disadvantage – our colleagues and students, will all feel the benefit of Leon’s expertise.”

Professor Michael Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Sussex, said: “I am delighted by Professor Gordon Harold’s appointment as Head of Strategic Policy for the ACAMH, which is in acknowledgement of his internationally recognised research and policy interventions in children’s and adolescents' mental health.

"Since becoming its inaugural Director, Gordon Harold has established the Rudd Centre as a leading organisation for advancing scientific knowledge, practice improvements and policy developments around vulnerable children and families. The appointment of Professor Leon Feinstein as an Honorary Professor will enhance the activities of the Centre and help it to translate its research into real-world applications for the benefit of society.”

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.