The Centre for Adoption Support Team

Welcome to our meet the team page where we introduce you to the team at the Centre for Adoption Support.

The Centre prides itself on its experienced team of adoption practitioners who all work towards the ethos of the Centre 'every child is different, there is no one size of support that fits all'.

Anne Fleming

Service Manager

About Me

I have been privileged to work in the field of adoption and adoption support since 1994 . I have worked as an outreach worker, social work practitioner, and latterly as a practice manager for a highly regarded Local Authority in Cheshire before moving to join the Centre for Adoption Support (CFAS) in 2015. The CFAS reputation for excellence was a key factor in my decision to join and help develop the service.

Outside of work: I enjoy spending quality time with my family and friends. I enjoy socialising, dining out and going to live indoor and outdoor music events . I enjoy dancing and have recently re-joined the Gym in a bid to improve my fitness. Over the past 6 years I have been blessed with the arrival of 5 beautiful grandchildren, I simply adore my role as Nannie Annie!

It is a real privilege to work with such a strong and passionate team who are exceptionally dedicated and skilled.

What do you love most about what you do?

The best thing about my role is working alongside so many caring and committed families and hopefully being part of their support network. It is a challenge and a joy to work with skilled and experienced colleagues both within the partnerships and with commissioning local authorities to provide a comprehensive range of quality support services in order to deliver the best possible outcomes for children and young people .

Hedwig (Hetty) Verhagen

Practice Manager

About Me

I have worked for the Centre for Adoption Support since we set in up the service in 2013. I really enjoy presenting training and meeting with families for consultations or therapeutic session.

Outside of work: I mainly enjoy doing activities which require wellies: walking the dogs in the hills and fields; hanging out with our hens and finding lakes to go for swim in. I also enjoy making cheese and baking, but usually take my wellies off when I do that!

What do you love most about what you do?

I think it is a real privilege to meet families, get to know them really well and work together at making life a little easier. I also find it very rewarding to hear that someone has been able to put something that they learned about in one of our workshops into practice, with a positive result. I am fascinated by our brain and the way our body and brain are connected and love sharing new understanding with the families I work with.

David Robinson-Field

Practice Manager

About Me

I worked as a lecturer and manager in further education for twenty years before adopting my two sons. Then my interest in adoption grew, resulting in retraining to be a social worker.

Outside of work: My leisure time is spent with my family and our dog and we spend a lot of time at our caravan on Anglesey.

What do you love most about what you do?

I enjoy meeting lots of people and no day is the same.The best part is being able to use my training and my experience as an adopter to help other parents and their children in a range of different ways.

Nigel Johnson

Senior Adoption Practitioner

About Me

I have worked for Adoption Matters since 2014 and have concentrated on the support side through CfAS for the past 18 months. Prior to this I worked in local authority adoption and fostering assessment and therapeutic support teams.

I now work part-time and I concentrate on delivering consultations to families and delivering training programmes. I am particularly interested in the area of child to parent violence and most importantly help reduce incidents.

Outside of work: I enjoy spending time with my family which during the past 12 months has seen the arrival of a new granddaughter and dog. I enjoy walking and spending time at the coast where I have a caravan. Sport is also a big passion, football in the winter, tennis and cycling in the summer.

What do you love most about what you do?

It is such a privilege to meet so many committed families who seek help and from our service and that I am able to utilise my knowledge and experience to understand and provide support.

Maria Lavelle

Senior Adoption Practitioner

About Me

I have had the pleasure of working in the adoption field for over 25 years. Within CfAS I work with families on an individual basis, offering reflective consultations and delivering bespoke packages of Theraplay. It was my privilege to join CfAS in 2013 and help develop some of the workshops & events currently available. I also enjoy my role as a facilitator and trainer. It's a busy team and no two days are the same, which I find refreshing and energizing in equal measure !

Outside of work: When not at work I love spending time with close fiends and family. We are quite an active bunch and love walking and skiing together as a family .I find being outside, connected to the beauty that surrounds us all , deeply relaxing …there is nothing quite like it.

What do you love most about what you do?

I absolutely love being part of a unique service that has positively impacted on adoption support services across the North West. It’s wonderful to see the service grow and develop .I feel privileged to work along side so many passionately committed colleagues who share the same common aim.

Annmarie Field

Senior Adoption Practitioner

About Me

I have worked within children’s services since 1995 and specifically in the field of adoption for the past 13 years. I joined the Centre for Adoption Support in 2015 and it has been a privilege to work alongside a highly skilled, knowledgeable and experienced team within such an innovative service.

Outside of work: Above all else I enjoy spending time with my family out and about having fun. Sport has always been a passion of mine and I love playing hockey. There’s nothing better to clear my head than whacking a hockey ball for my local club at the weekend!

What do you love most about what you do?

I enjoy the variety that comes with my role and I never get bored! I can be delivering a workshop one day, seeing families for consultations the next and supporting the fabulous CfAS choir the day after that. It’s incredibly rewarding to work alongside families who use the CfAS service, some of whom are experiencing real challenges. To even play a very small part in supporting children and families to deal with such challenges and witness their resilience is an honour and I believe I learn as much from them as they do from our service.

Pat Shields

Senior Adoption Practitioner

About Me

I joined CFAS in November 2016 having previously worked in another Voluntary Adoption Agency. I have been a Social Worker for many years (too many to admit to) and have been fortunate to have had a varied career working both within the Local Authority, the Independent Sector and the Voluntary sector. The majority of my social work experience has been with children and families and mental health.

I totally embrace the CFAS statement “one size does not fit all” in adoption support.

Alongside being a working mum I am a parent of five adopted children ranging from 26 yrs to 13 yrs. As I am sure you can appreciate there is never a dull moment in our house.

Outside of work: I am a very keen tennis player. Last year I gave myself a tennis marathon challenge playing 54 matches across 4 leagues in the summer period.
I am also a member of a book club and enjoy walking and visits to the theatre.

What do you love most about what you do?

Within my role I enjoy supporting adopted parents and being a strong advocate for their needs. From a practitioner point of view I have a passion for delivering Theraplay as a proven intervention with adopted families to build up attachment with their children.

Patricia Dalton

Senior Adoption Practitioner

About Me

I have been privileged to have worked with Children and Families for over forty years, thirty wonderful years with Adoption Matters.

I have worked with such dedicated colleagues whilst working for the agency and in the recent years working with the CfAS team has been inspirational meeting and supporting families dedicated to provide their children with a loving and full family life.

I have also been able to assist so many people in relation to the historical adoptions supporting birth parents and adopted adults seeking their birth histories and for some a potential reunion with their birth family.

Outside of work: I am a little of a culture loving person as I love the theatre and live music classical and modern. I also like walking and travelling . I love animals and I have two elderly but loving cats

What do you love most about what you do?

I love most meeting with the families and children in the activities and support sessions such as climbing, outside den building, summer picnics and many other family event’s that Adoption Matters and CfAS provide for our families.

Ronnie Sumner

Senior Adoption Practitioner

About Me

I have worked in adoption since 1994 and have become more involved in adoption support as the years have rolled by. I particularly enjoy delivering training and working in schools.

Outside of work: I like reading, spending time with my family, and pottering in the garden – especially as by the time summer comes I’ve forgotten what I planted earlier in the year so there’s always a surprise in store (and if it doesn’t grow I don’t remember so I’m never disappointed!) I like travelling and have discovered some fabulous cities through using walking tours (quite often with my Mum who tells everyone I make her walk 10,000 steps a day even when we’re on holiday).

What do you love most about what you do?

I really like talking about the Nurtured Heart Approach (ask my colleagues!) but the thing that always warms my heart is watching a child snuggle up to their parent and be comforted in their arms. Knowing that they haven’t always had that then seeing our parents offer that unconditional safety to their children is an absolute joy.

Sarah Butcher

Adoption Practitioner

About Me

I have been a Social Worker since 2000 and spent a large part of this working in adoption, in Voluntary and Local Authority. I have an adopted sibling and so my personal and professional experience has led me to value the importance of good quality support. I joined CfAS in 2017 and I work part time.

I enjoy spending time with my family. I particularly enjoy being outside with the children, whatever the weather, and in the rare moments of quiet I like to read.

What do you love most about what you do?

It’s a real privilege to get to know and work alongside families, offering support and being a part of their adoption journey. I have a particular interest in Theraplay and enjoy seeing how parents and children develop close relationships, what Theraplay terms building relationships from ‘inside out‘.

I also enjoy being part of an enthusiastic and committed team, with a wide variety of therapeutic interests and having the opportunity to develop my own knowledge and skills.

Helen Armstrong

Senior Adoption Practitioner

About Me

I have worked in various child care and mental health social work posts in Cumbria since 1984. Since 2006 I have worked in Adoption Support moving to work with CfAS in 2015. In my role I provide an adoption support service to the families in Cumbria so have the challenge of covering lots of miles around this beautiful County.

Outside of work: I enjoy running (although I am getting slower each year), and walking on the Cumbrian Fells. I also enjoy spending time with my family and having them around for a nice meal which is probably why my running is getting slower.

What do you love most about what you do?

The thing I enjoy most about my job is continually building my experience and knowledge and learning more with each family I work with. It is good to be able to work in partnership with families who have so much commitment and knowledge about their children to help children who have had difficult early life experiences move on and make progress.

Kathryn Westbrook

Adoption Administrator

About Me

I have been working with The Centre for Adoption Support since 2015 and I am currently one of two administrators for the service, covering all aspects of administration for the team.

What do you love most about what you do?

I like providing people with helpful information on support, workshops and events and as a part of my job I write and design the Centre for Adoption Support Newsletter, which is then distributed across local authorities and adoptive families.

Sarah Grosscurth

Adoption Administrator

About Me

I joined the team in July 2017 and I am currently one of two administrators who get to provide full administration support to the Centre for Adoption Support.

What do you love most about what you do?

I really enjoy being a part of a team where each member really cares about what they do. I get to play a part in providing people with this great level of support and I love the variety that this role brings – whether its getting people the information they need, or helping to arrange our popular workshops and events, no two days are the same!