Skip to main content

Our Team

We are a team of dedicated professionals working hard to achieve best results for children, families and adopted adults in the UK.

Satwinder Sandhu, Chief Executive Officer

Satwinder Sandhu is a leader in the adoption sector, influencing national and international practice and policy. He is a qualified social worker with almost thirty-years of work experience in adoption, fostering and children in public care. Satwinder is passionate about how adoption needs to modernise and focussing this evolution on the needs, and experiences, of adopted people. At Changing Script he is also involved in driving change in organisations through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion. Satwinder is a TEDx speaker and a member of numerous sector Boards, including the Rees Centre, University of Oxford. Satwinder took up the role of CEO at CVAA UK in October 2023.

Alice Talbot, Head of Policy and Member Services

Alice joined the CVAA in December 2021. She started her career working in communications before retraining as a child protection social worker and practicing in London. Prior to the CVAA, she held the position of Investigative Researcher in the policy team of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England. In this role she specialised in issues relating to children’s social care.

Alice holds an MA in Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh. She has a Post Graduate Diploma in Social Work and an MSc in Advanced Relationship Based Social Work Practice with Children and Families from the University of Bedfordshire.

Petra Jodlova, Head of Practice Development

Petra joined CVAA in September 2019. Petra oversees the development of the Practice Programme and leads practice networks, services, products and opportunities to enhance learning and development across the adoption and children social care sector. Petra is committed to building CVAA’s reputation as an innovator and ensuring its members remain well supported and at the leading edge of evidence based practice at all levels of their organistion.

Previously she worked at the Youth Justice Legal Centre as a Project and Development Manager delivering specialist youth justice training sessions to solicitors, barristers, judges, and youth offending teams.

Petra holds an MSc in Politics from the University of Surrey.

Hayley Brooks, Communications and Business Support Officer

Hayley joined CVAA in August 2022. Having a degree in Media, Culture and Production, Hayley volunteered for numerous charities and Hampshire Constabulary in media and communication roles before securing a job as PR Officer at Action for Blind People which was at the time, part of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). Since then, Hayley has worked in various roles in marketing, promotions, fundraising and administration.
She also holds a CIM Level 3 and Level 4 certificate in Professional Marketing.

Chris Smith, Consultant (Practice Expert)

Chris provides expert advice to guide CVAA's Practice Development Programme. She is a trained social worker and has worked in both local authority and voluntary settings.

Chris was previously Chief Executive of St Francis’ Children’s Society, a voluntary adoption agency. Whilst in this position Chris was involved in the development of several areas of innovative practice, including work with young adoptees, recruitment of black and dual-heritage adopters, and provision of independent counselling services to birth relatives of children being adopted from care.

After ‘retiring’ from full time work, Chris took up an interim post as Director of CVAA in 2010 and held that position until 2014, working alongside Norman Goodwin and Mark Owers as members of the CVAA Leadership Team. She then took on the role of Grant Manager when CVAA was successful in becoming the body responsible for managing the £13.5m DfE Expansion Grant programme