Navigating Adoption Support Conference

9 May 2019
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On 28 March 2019, we held our first one day conference exploring adoption research and adoption support in partnership with the University of Chester.


We welcomed over 100 delegates who included academics, policy makers, social workers, teachers & head teachers, adopters, special guardians and adopted adults for presentations and interactive workshops.  High profile speakers included Sir John Timpson, Sir Mark Hedley, Hetty Verhagen Practice Manager at the Centre for Adoption Support, Dr. Sadie King (who evaluated the national Adoption Support Fund), Alison Woodhead of Adoption UK and Dr. John Simmonds of CoramBAAF.


The Centre for Adoption Support is a unique support service supporting adoption and permanency. Anne Fleming, the Centre’s Service Manager commented:


“In spite of the amazing achievements of families and children who are brought together by the adoption system in challenging circumstances, there is a real risk that children and families will have a poor experience if there is a lack of targeted support put in place at the right time. 


It is not about professionals telling families what they need – children and families need to be empowered and equipped to tackle the challenges that they have identified and be actively supported and engaged in navigating their way through tough times”.


The University of Chester, the Centre and its parent agencies Adoption Matters & Caritas Care brought together an amazing group of academics, practitioners and family representatives from around the UK to share ideas and generate new perspectives.


An adopter who attended on the day commented: “I found the whole day most informative and enjoyable.  There was a real buzz in the air and I have learned so much”.


To find out more about the Centre’s work and future conferences, visit:


Pictured above:

Front row left to right: Anne Fleming Service Manager, CfAS, Prof. Elizabeth Harlow
University of Chester & Trustee, Carolyn Johnson, Chair of Board of Trustees, Amanda Forshaw,
Chief Executive, Caritas Care, Dr. Marie Kershaw, Principal Clinical Psychologist, Birmingham
Children’s Trust Therapeutic & Emotional Support Service (TESS) Back row left to right, Norman
Goodwin, Chief Executive Adoption Matters, Prof David Cracknell University of Chester & Trustee,
Dr. Katherine Shelton, University of Cardiff, Dr. John Simmonds OBE, Director of Policy, Research
and Development, CoramBAAF, David Robinson-Field, Practice Manager CfAS, Hetty Verhagen,
Practice Manager CfAS, Al Coates, MBE, Social Worker and Adoptive Father, Mike Hall,
Independent Consultant and Sir Mark Hedley, Adoption Matters Patron. Missing from the picture
are other presenters from the day, Dr. Neil Harrison, Deputy Director, Rees Centre, University of
Oxford & Helen Trivedi, Research Assistant, Rees Centre, University of Oxford, Dr. Sadie King,
Principal Researcher/Consultant, Tavistock Institute of Human Relations & Alison Woodhead, Director of
Public Affairs & Communications, Adoption UK.