Our multi-disciplinary team has a wealth of experience and up-to-date expertise in adoption and fostering practice and delivers a wide range of training, consultancy, workshops and conferences to assist professionals to develop the knowledge and skills they require when working in this specialist area.
You can meet the team below
Robin started with AFA Scotland in October 2016 and divides his time between AFA (3 days/wk) and managing Scotland’s Adoption Register (1 days/wk). He has managed Scotland’s Adoption Register since 2014 which from April 2020 has been hosted by AFA Scotland
Robin qualified as a social worker in 1988 - via a circuitous route involving an earlier qualification as a Chartered Surveyor and then working in youth projects and in residential child care.
As a social worker he worked for Barnardos, establishing a residential project for children who had previously been in long stay hospital, before moving to Dundee City Council’s fostering and adoption service and subsequently managing their permanence team.
Prior to his move to the Adoption Register he worked for more than 10 years as a child care manager for Angus Council. As Executive Director he is responsible for the leadership and development of AFA Scotland and will work with the charity’s staff, trustees and stakeholders to maximise AFA’s overall performance and sustainability.
Maggie collaborates with the Universities of Stirling and York on the Permanently Progressing? study of permanence for children under 5 in Scotland. She provides updates on current research for all AFA Scotland forums and delivers training on research in adoption, fostering and related topics. She has 10 years’ experience working on a range of studies, including research on international adoption, using video clips in family finding, the Fostering Education reading programme and fostering of asylum seeking young people. She was co-author of the British Chinese Adoption Study and is currently a consultant on a longitudinal study of infant domestic adoption at King's College London. She has recently completed a PhD exploring adults’ retrospective accounts of growing up adopted.
Ravinder is a qualified social worker with over 20 years’ child care experience in local authorities and latterly in the voluntary sector with BAAF Scotland. As one of the founding members of AFA Scotland, Ravinder is the course leader for the unique masters level postgraduate course Securing Children’s Futures, accredited by Strathclyde University. Ravinder has many years of experience in delivering a range of training and workshops as well as chairing adoption and fostering panels for several agencies. Ravinder is also an Agency Decision Maker. Additionally, she facilitates the Family Placement Forum which promotes good practice for family placement social workers.
Rhona provides legal input across AFA Scotland's services. She facilitates
the Legal Adoption and Fostering Forum and organises an annual conference on current legal issues relevant to adoption, fostering and looked after children. Rhona co-convenes the family placement consortia in West of Scotland, North-East of Scotland and Pan-Scotland. She also delivers a range of training, consultations and workshops. Rhona regularly speaks at and chairs legal and social work conferences. She provides the legal notes for the Adoption and Fostering Journal published quarterly by CoramBAAF. Rhona qualified as a solicitor in Glasgow and practiced in private practice, commerce and the public sector in London and Scotland. She has lectured at various colleges and universities in Scotland on child protection and child welfare law. She was a Reporter to the Children's Panel for 20 years,course tutor with West Lothian College, training children's hearing panel members and a Panel Practice Advisor with the Fife Area Support Team for Children's Hearings Scotland.
Brenda is based in the office and manages all administrative and business aspects of AFA Scotland’s work. She is responsible for all matters relating to finance, including reporting to the Board of Trustees and works closely in conjunction with the Executive Director. Brenda co-ordinates the membership services, delivers on-going marketing and communication about AFA Scotland’s services, and also provides administrative support for the postgraduate course and consultancy projects. Brenda previously worked for BAAF for 12 years.
Jane joined the staff team as its new Trainer Consultant at the beginning of October 2017. Jane has worked for many years in children’s services as a practitioner and manager, most recently managing the fostering services for North Ayrshire Council. Her interest in making research and learning accessible to practitioners and her range of experience in relation to fostering, adoption, kinship care and in promoting therapeutic support for children, will make her a great asset to the service and we are looking forward to benefitting from her breadth of experience and knowledge.
Jessica joined the team in September 2020 as a researcher to support the research activities AFA Scotland undertakes.
Alongside providing updates on emerging research for all our forums Jessica is currently supporting a range of studies, including research on cross border adoptions, mapping support for birth families alongside completing her PhD at the University of Stirling.
In March 2021, Jessica was also appointed as AFA’s Promise Implementation Lead to support our organisation-wide change programme following the publication of the Promise.
Before her role with AFA Scotland, Jessica gained invaluable experience working at the Independent Care Review, in partnership with Evaluate Support Scotland, as part of the Data and Evidence Team tasked with evaluating and evidencing the methodology used to conduct the national review of Scotland’s ‘care system’.
Cristina provides administrative support to the Business Support & Finance Manager on a day-to-day basis and supports the overall work of the organisation. She has a previous background in graphic design, in 2005 worked as Social Care Worker for few years for the City of Edinburgh Council, and since then she has been working in the voluntary sector with different organisations.
Angie is a Social Worker who has practiced in family placement services for 25 years across local authority, voluntary and independent sectors.
With experience in managing adoption, fostering and kinship care including intensive fostering services and developing specialist remand and treatment foster care services with multi agency partners, Angie has an interest in developing policy and working alongside Managers and Practitioners to improve practice across the sector.
Chelsea joined the AFA Scotland team in 2021 to support their e-learning and communications development programme.
Originally from Canada, she has worked in the public, private and international sectors in policy research, communications, marketing and digital strategy.
She recently completed a master’s degree at the Graduate Institute of Geneva, focussed on inequitable access to health and education resources.
Mark started with AFA Scotland in September 2021 as a Researcher, supporting AFA’s research capacity across a range of projects and providing research updates and support to practice forums. He has previously published research on recording practice in residential childcare and was part of the Social Work Scotland-funded research project Exploring the changing nature of adoption work: Reflections on the 1968 Act. Mark is currently undertaking a PhD on poverty and social work assessment and decision-making, supported through an Alice Brown Scholarship from the University of Edinburgh.
Before joining AFA, Mark spent ten years as a local authority social worker in a children and families practice team in Edinburgh, and five years working in residential childcare, predominantly secure care. He was seconded to Edinburgh Napier University as a Lecturer-Practitioner from 2015 to 2018, teaching child and adult protection. Mark is a qualified Practice Teacher, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, tutors and lectures on social work qualifying courses, and has been a board member of Canongate Youth for over 15 years.
Anne Thom is the Kinship Care Consultant for AFA Scotland and Kinship Care Advice Service for Scotland.
Anne joined the team in Oct 2020 and has 15 years experience as a social worker and manager in fostering, adoption and kinship care; most recently managing a kinship care service in Renfrewshire Council.
Anne is committed to the promise and is looking forward to her role in supporting the workforce by sharing good practice in kinship care through forums, consultations, meetings and training workshops with the aim of improving outcomes for kinship families.