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.

Jan Fishwick (Vice Chair)

Jan’s career in social work began in 1975 as Deputy Matron of a 12-bedded children’s home, where she gained an initial understanding of the need for early intervention for families and encountered 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. In this role, she contributed to the innovative development of PACT’s Dual Approval scheme and the voluntary sector’s ‘It’s All About Me’ service which found families for children with special placements needs. She contributed to the adoption reform agenda at the DfE and is a member of the London and South East Adoption Leadership Boards.

Jan has also served as a Board member of CVAA since 2009, and was Chair for part of this time, she is currently the Vice-Chair. 

Terry Fitzpatrick (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.

Norman Goodwin

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.

Norman 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 and Special Guardianship Leadership Board.

Between 2010 and 2014 Norman worked alongside Chris Smith and Mark Owers as part of the CVAA leadership team to implement the adoption reform programme. He is Vice Chair of the NW Regional Adoption Leadership Board.

Wendy Keidan

Wendy is Chief Executive of St David's Children's Society, a voluntary adoption agency located in Cardiff. She qualified as a social worker following a year’s post graduate CQSW training. One two-day module on substitute care piqued hercuriosity about children who are unable to live with their birth parents; thirty-two years later, that curiosity has never left her. Wendy's passion is to meet the needs of children who rarely have a voice in their vulnerable pre-adult status, and are totally dependent on adults doing the very best to ensure their right to a family life.  

Prior to joining St. David’s in 2015, Wendy was the Director of BAAF Cymru, where she led the launch of the first Adoption Register in Wales, gave evidence to the joint committee of enquiry into adoption, and sat on subsequent consultation stakeholder groups from which the blueprint of the National Adoption Service for Wales emerged.

As the Deputy Director and, from 2018, the CEO of St. David’s Children Society, Wendy has worked with partners across the statutory, voluntary, academic, and therapeutic sectors to lead on developing the Adopting Together Service. Supported by Welsh Government, this Service has been recognised for its innovation and collaboration with awards from the Institute of Collaborative Working and Government Opportunities (GO) Wales. In 2020, the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (the foundation from which Adopting Together emerged) between Cardiff University and St. David’s was graded “Outstanding” by Innovate UK.

Ruth Marriott

Ruth has worked with young people for over 27 years. The last 20 have been in strategic senior management posts. Ruth joined Families for Children from Social Care in Action (SCiA) a charity and social enterprise, based in Southampton where she was Group CEO for 3 years delivering health and social care services across the Solent area.

Prior to this Ruth worked for Catch22 in London managing the first BIG Lottery programme outsourced to the VCSE, Realising Ambition, a £26m UK wide  replication programme . Ruth joined Cathc22 from Core Assets where she was the South West Regional Manager, services included Foster Care Associates and worked with local authorities to support families and children on the edge of care.

Before this Ruth was CEO at The Zone in Plymouth where she set up Insight (an early intervention for psychosis service), Icebreak (an emerging personality disorder service) and was one of 11 Multi Systemic Therapy sites in 2008, as well as supporting young homeless, providing a comprehensive sexual health service, advocacy, outdoor activities.

She has a Bsc in Social Policy and Community Work and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).

Carolyn Oliver

Carolyn is the Assistant Head of Business - Adoption and the Agency Decision Maker for Barnardo’s. She has many years of experience of working with all parties to adoption in both public and voluntary sectors in England. She has developed policy and services and chaired adoption panels and is also an experienced trainer.

Prior to Carolyn’s current position, she managed an adoption support service. She was also involved in pioneering work with birth parents who lost children to adoption, which led to involvement in national conferences and policy development.

Carolyn has been a Board member of CVAA since 2010, and in that time has served as a member of the audit and finance sub-committee.

Satwinder Sandhu

Satwinder is CEO of IAC – The Centre for Adoption. He is a qualified social worker with 24 years experience across the voluntary, statutory and independent sectors. He is focussed in ensuring organisations deliver good practice and high customer service with the ultimate result being better long-term and sustainable outcomes for vulnerable children. 

Being CEO of an organisation that delivers intercountry and domestic adoptions services, as well as advice and support services he has a solid grasp of of the current issues affecting the sector.  

Satwinder’s passion for a better future for all children and his desire to constantly review and evolve how we deliver services has led to considerable success in the services he has led, and he brings this approach and experience to his work with the 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.

In 1993 Stephen took up a temporary secondment to St. Andrew’s Children’s Society. He has been the Director of St Andrew’s from 1995 until the present.

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 Vaughan

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.