Andrew Webb (Independent Chair)
Andrew's passion for improving outcomes for the most vulnerable children extends to both policy and practice, and has remained undimmed since he first began his career in social work in 1976. He spent his working life in local authorities and was Director of Children’s and Adults’ Services in Stockport before retiring in 2018. Andrew has subsequently provided independent consultancy to a number of children's services organisations, including local authorities and multi-agency partnerships. Andrew was President of the Association of Directors of Children's Services from 2012 to 2013 and chaired the Research in Practice partnership board for 10 years. Since retirement, Andrew has remained active in the permanence and family justice system and is a Board member of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.
Terry Fitzpatrick, OBE (Treasurer)
Terry has worked in children’s social care for over 35 years. He began his career in the voluntary sector, working for what was then the Catholic Rescue Society as a residential child care officer, before moving to work for a local authority in 1983. Following this, he again worked for several years in a residential setting as a qualified social worker, helping to manage a “fostering preparation unit”. In this role he was asked to conduct fostering and adoption assessments, and so the passion for family placement work began.
From 1989 until 2013 Terry managed family placement services for a local authority, and specifically managed the adoption service there for over 24 years. In that time he helped steer the service through successive ‘outstanding’ inspection results and established the service as one of the best-performing in the country.
Terry has extensive expertise in early permanence planning and has routinely been enlisted to support other adoption agencies as they strive to develop foster to adopt and concurrency services.
As Director of ARC Adoption NE, Terry’s career has come full circle with a return to the voluntary sector. It is now his hope that he and the team at ARC Adoption NE can use their skills to make a major contribution to children’s lives on a national level.
Brenda Farrell is UK Head of Business Family Placement with Barnardo’s, where she leads on the strategic development and direction of fostering and adoption services. She has worked within Barnardo’s since 2007.
Originally from a social work background, she has substantial experience in child protection and residential care settings. She has specialised in fostering and adoption since 1999.
Operating across the UK, she has led on a number of government-funded projects and is actively involved in current adoption and child care consultation and stakeholder groups.
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.
In 1993 Stephen took up a temporary secondment to St. Andrew’s Children’s Society. He has been the CEO of St Andrew’s since 1995.
Stephen has been a Trustee 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.
Jay is one of the founding members of Family Futures, a voluntary adoption agency in London, and has been CEO of the agency since 2019. Jay knows first-hand the difficulties, complexities and joys of steering and supporting an adoption agency to provide the requisite services that families need and the importance of ensuring that there is evidence-based practice and on-going research.
For the past 30 years, Jay has worked as a therapist with children and young people from the care system. She is a Dramatherapist, a Theraplay practitioner, and a Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapist with a particular interest in working with the impact of trauma on the nervous system and body. She is also qualified as a Theraplay supervisor and trainer and provides consultation both at Family Futures and for local authorities. She has seen first-hand how important the provision of good quality therapeutic services are to adopted children and their parents, and how this support ensures positive outcomes. Jay feels passionately that services, statutory and voluntary, should be providing the help and support that all adopted families need as an integral part of their adoption experience
Natausha Van Vliet
Natausha's diverse professional background has included teaching, executive coaching, and several senior roles, including more than 10 years working in the commercial music industry. In 2007, she moved from the commercial sector into the children and young people’s voluntary and community sector, a decision she has never regretted!
She joined Parents And Children Together (PACT) in June 2013 as Head of Communities, becoming Director of Business Development in 2015. In 2018, she took on the role of Chief Operating Officer and became CEO for PACT in April 2021, taking the reins from Jan Fishwick when she retired.
Her experience includes PR, marketing, business development, fundraising and commercial contract management, teaching and coaching. This has given her the skills to drive, support and improve business and service developments and to identify opportunities for innovation, always with a beneficiary focus. She is particularly proud to have led on the development of PACT’s Adopter Hub online solution and the difference this has now made to thousands of families across the country.
She is motivated by empowering people to help themselves, and is passionate about improving the outcomes for vulnerable women, families, children, and young people.
Susy is a qualified Accountant with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and worked in practice before joining Adoption Matters in 2004.
Susy has played a pivotal role in Adoption Matters growth and success working closely alongside our former CEO Norman Goodwin, CBE, in her leadership role as Finance and Operations Director.
Susy was appointed as Chief Executive late 2021, officially starting the role on 1 January 2022.