Our Board


Ray Shostak CBE (Chair)

Ray Shostak is an international adviser in education, government performance and public service reform. He was Head of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, Director General Performance Management and member of the Board of Her Majesty’s Treasury from 2007 – 2011. Previously, Ray served as Director of Public Services at HM Treasury and has had responsibility for a wide variety of public service and spending control issues.

Prior to joining the Treasury, he was the first Director of Children, Schools and Families at Hertfordshire County Council. He has also worked as Head of Pupil Performance in the Department of Education and Skills; and held a number of senior roles in local government. In addition to being the Independent Chair of Trustees of the CVAA Ray is a member of the Board of the National Audit Office, a Trustee of the Early Intervention Foundation and is an Honorary Norham Fellow at Oxford University. Ray was awarded an Honorary CBE for services to education by HM Queen in 2005.


Lynn Charlton MBE

Lynn is Vice Chair of CVAA and an inspirational third sector leader known for her dynamic organisational development and innovative business practice and ability to bring people together across sectors for greater public benefit. As CEO of After Adoption she has influenced the shape of legislation, policy and practice, acting as a stakeholder adviser to government departments in both England and Wales. Lynn has engaged a variety of key funders to commit to the support of new developments in adoption services. She is co-author of Still Screaming, an informative text about birthparents who lose their children to adoption. Lynn has many years of practice experience in children’s services, has worked in both the statutory and voluntary sector at a number of levels. She is also a non-executive Director of IAAMS Service Company.


Amanda Forshaw

Amanda has acted as Treasurer of CVAA for a number of years, and in this time has seen the charity and its finances grow in both size and complexity. Amanda is currently Chief Executive of Caritas Care, a charity which provides a range of social care services and projects in the North West, and which also provides professional accountancy and administrative support to CVAA. I joined Caritas Care in 2003, having had a varied career in social work practice and management within the public and voluntary sectors over the previous 25 years. This included 18 years’ experience of both practice and management in Local Authorities, and five years within the National Children’s Charity, The Children’s Society.


Jan Fishwick

Jan’s career in social work began in 1975 as Deputy Matron of a 12 bedded children’s home, gaining an initial understanding of the need for early intervention for families also encountering children waiting for adoptive families. This influenced her passion for support to prevent family breakdown and ensuring Looked After Children were given the best opportunity to thrive in a loving environment of a family. Jan has a broad experience at senior level, joining PACT in 2008 as CEO contributing to the innovative development of PACT’s Dual Approval scheme and the sector’s ‘It’s All About Me’ service. She contributed to the adoption reform agenda at the DfE and is a member of the London and South East Adoption Leadership Boards. She has also served as a Board member of the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies since 2009 being Chair for part of this time.


Carolyn Oliver

Carolyn is the Assistant Head of Business- Adoption and the Agency Decision Maker for Barnardo’s. Carolyn has many years of experience of working with all parties to adoption in both public and voluntary sectors in England; developed policy and services; chaired Adoption panels and is an experienced trainer. Prior to her current position she managed an adoption support service. Carolyn was also involved in the pioneering work with birth parents losing children to adoption which led to involvement in national conferences and policy development. She has been a Board member of CVAA since 2010 and more recently a member of the audit and finance sub-committee and a CVAA Board representative of the IAAM Service Company


Terry Fitzpatrick

Terry has worked in the field of children’s social care for over 35 years. He began his career in the Voluntary Sector, working for the then Catholic Rescue Society as a residential child care officer, before moving to work for a local authority in 1983.
Although, for several years he again worked in a residential setting, helping to manage a “fostering preparation unit”, as a qualified social worker, he was enlisted to conduct fostering and adoption assessments too and so the passion for family placement work began.
From 1989 until 2013 Terry managed family placement services for the council and specifically managed the adoption service there for over 24 years. In that time Terry helped steer the service through successive outstanding inspection results and established the service as one of the best performing in the country.
He has built up an expertise in early permanence planning and has routinely been enlisted to support other adoption agencies as they strive to develop foster to adopt and concurrent placements.
As Director of ARC Adoption Terry’s career has come full circle with a return to the Voluntary Sector. It is now Terry’s hope that he and the team at ARC Adoption can use their skills to make a major contribution to children’s lives on a national level.

Joanne Alper - Board

Joanne Alper

Joanne is Director of Services at Adoptionplus, a Voluntary Adoption Agency that specialises in in the placement of children with complex needs. Joanne has 24 years social work experience in both local authority and the independent sector.  She has worked in Generic Child Care, Child Protection, Looked after Children, Fostering and Adoption. She is a qualified Play Therapist and has had 8 books published. Joanne was instrumental in setting up Adoptionplus in 2006 as an Adoption Support Agency and then in 2008 as a Voluntary Adoption Agency as she wanted to develop a new type of therapeutic adoption placement service, specifically focussed on supporting the placement, and long term therapeutic needs of children with a history of significant trauma.  Joanne is committed to relationship based models of social work, promoting non blaming pro learning organisational cultures and developing effective innovative services for children and families.


Norman Goodwin CBE

Norman is Chief Executive of Adoption Matters, a voluntary adoption agency, operating in the north of England with its headquarters in Chester. He has worked there since 1985 having previously worked and managed in child care settings in Scotland, Wales and England.
He is an executive member and twice former chair of CVAA and has also served as a Trustee of Children England, the leading membership organisation for the children, young people and families in the voluntary sector. He was the VAA representative Trustee of BAAF (British Association for Adoption and Fostering) from 1999 to 2015
Norman has been involved in a number of national initiatives and working groups on adoption including Tim Loughton’s Ministerial Advisory Group, the Expert Working Group on Adoption and the Adoption Implementation Group which became the Adoption Leadership Board.
Between 2010 and 2014 Norman worked alongside Chris Smith and Mark Owers as part of the CVAA leadership team implementing the adoption reform programme and is now part of the grant management subcommittee. He is Vice Chair of the NW Regional Adoption Leadership Board.


Stephen Small

Stephen became a social worker in 1986. His first job was with Humberside County Council working within a child protection and children and family setting. He returned to his native Scotland in 1988 to work with Midlothian Council supporting foster carers for adolescents. It was in 1993 that he took up a temporary secondment to St. Andrew’s Children’s Society. He has been the Director from 1995 until the present. He has been a Trustees of CVAA since it became a charity and has a particular role within the Board to represent the developments, issues and challenges faced by the agencies based in the Celtic Nations.