In National Adoption Week, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Andrew Webb as the new Independent Chair of the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies (CVAA). Andrew took up the post at CVAA’s Annual General Meeting on 17 September. He takes over from Ray Shostak, CBE, who served as Chair of Trustees of CVAA from 2014 to 2020.

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.

Andrew says,

“I am honoured to have been appointed to the Board of CVAA, and just hope I can pick up successfully where the outgoing chair, Ray Shostak, left off.

“Adoption is at a crossroads: we know how successful it can be in offering permanence to children who have had the most challenging start in life, yet the numbers children whose care plan recommends it continues to fall. We are also developing our  understanding of the need to support an adopted child’s sense of identity through an appreciation of their full family history – which doesn’t fit well with a traditional approach to contact in adoption. And the range and ongoing nature of support needed by adopters and special guardians has never been clearer.

“A vital part of CVAA’s future work will be to develop proposals, in partnership with Government and  others, to reimagine adoption for the 21st Century. I am really looking forward to helping develop this thinking, building on the outstanding work that is the ‘day job’ of voluntary adoption agencies – recruiting and training adopters, making and supporting placements, and keeping the debate about permanence alive in the minds of the public and policymakers.”