who we are

St David’s Adoption Service is known as a VAA (Voluntary Adoption Agency), this means that we are a not-for-profit registered charity and that our service is independent from social services within a local authority.

Our sole focus as a VAA is to recruit, assess and support adoptive families. Regional Adoption Services not only do this, but also work directly with the children whose permanency plan is adoption, as well as work with the birth families, facilitate any arrangements for contact between the child and the birth family, and also complete assessments for stepparent adoptions and inter-country adoptions.

As a VAA we work in close partnership with the Regional Adoption Services in Wales to recruit families for the children which the Regional Adoption Services are unable to place with adopters that they have approved.

Strategic Plan 2023-2026 English Cymraeg

Management Team

Jason Baker CEO

I joined St David’s in 2019, assuming a pivotal role as the lead for the Adopting Together Service and AFA Cymru. Prior to joining St David’s, my career path included significant experiences with Barnardo’s, directing my own company, and contributing to various Local Authority settings. In 2024, I was honoured to be appointed as the CEO of St David's Children's Society. In my capacity as CEO, I am deeply committed to advancing the mission and vision of St David’s, ensuring that we continue to provide exceptional services and support to children and families in need. Drawing upon my diverse background and extensive expertise, I am dedicated to leading our organisation with integrity, compassion, and innovation, striving to make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of those we serve.

Martina McCrossan Deputy Director & Adoption Services Manager

Throughout most of my career, which began in 1997 when I became a social worker, I have been dedicated to the field of Adoption and Permanency. This passion led me to join St David’s Adoption Service in 2018, initially as a Team Manager. Recognising my contributions and leadership, I was appointed Adoption Services Manager in 2021. In 2024, I was further entrusted with the role of Deputy Director, where I continue to uphold our organisation's commitment to excellence and innovation in adoption services. In addition to my managerial roles, I serve as an adoption panel advisor, providing expert guidance to ensure the panel's decisions align with the best interests of children and families. My journey in Adoption and Permanency has equipped me with a deep understanding of the complexities and challenges inherent in this field, allowing me to lead with empathy, expertise, and a steadfast dedication to improving outcomes for all involved.

Catherine Gates Fostering Team Manager

I started working for St David’s in 2017, initially employed as a Senior Social Worker. In 2021, I was appointed to the position of Team Manager. My career began with diverse experiences in Duty and Assessment, a Family Centre, and Fostering. More recently, and prior to both my roles at St David’s, I worked in Child Protection. In 2024, I was further appointed as the Foster Team Manager, expanding my responsibilities to include overseeing our fostering services. In this role, I am dedicated to ensuring that we provide a nurturing and supportive environment for both foster carers and the children in their care. My extensive background in various areas of social work equips me with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead both our adoption and fostering teams effectively, contributing to the ongoing success and mission of St David’s.

Anna Nyamhotsi Adoption Services Manager

I joined St David’s in 2015, initially as an Adoption Team Manager and later transitioning to the role of Adoption Services Manager. Since qualifying in 2000, I have accumulated extensive experience in the field of social work. I began my career as a social worker in a childcare team before progressing to a social worker and team manager role within a local authority adoption team. In addition to my managerial duties at St David's, I serve as a panel advisor to our adoption panel. This role involves providing expert guidance and support to ensure that our panel operates effectively and makes well-informed decisions in the best interests of children and families. My diverse background and commitment to excellence have enabled me to contribute significantly to the success and impact of our adoption services.

Angela Bennett Finance and Resource Manager

I am a qualified accountant with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). My professional journey has encompassed diverse experiences in both the private and charitable sectors, allowing me to develop a comprehensive understanding of financial management and strategy. I joined St David’s in November 2010, bringing with me a wealth of knowledge and expertise from my previous roles. Since then, I have been dedicated to ensuring the financial health and stability of the organisation, contributing to its mission of supporting fostering and adoption services. My role involves overseeing financial operations, budgeting, and compliance, all aimed at enhancing the efficiency and impact of our initiatives.

Coralie Merchant Business Development Manager

I joined St David’s in 2020 as the Business Development Manager, having previously worked within the organisation as a Cardiff University Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associate, supporting in establishing the Adopting Together Service. Prior to this I worked in a number of children’s charities in the development and delivery of services.

Daniel Warner Stage One Manager

I joined St David's in 2014, having previously worked for another fostering and adoption charity. Over the past decade, I have gained extensive experience in the field, contributing to various initiatives and supporting numerous families and children through the adoption process. In 2024, I transitioned to the role of Stage One Manager at St David's. In this capacity, I oversee the initial stages of the application process, guiding prospective applicants from their first enquiry through to the panel stage. My responsibilities include providing information and support, ensuring that applicants are well-prepared and informed as they move through the assessment and approval process.

Support Staff

Jackie Marston Senior Administration Officer

I joined the Society in 1986 as a junior secretary and remained until 1994 when I took a career break to start a family. I returned in 1998 as a senior administrator.

Shaun Houcke Senior Administration Officer

I joined St David’s in 2023, however, I have a personal connection with the services as I adopted through St David's in 2020. This experience has given me a unique perspective for families looking to adopt. I'm dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of those involved in the adoption process, and I strive to create a supportive and seamless experience for families.

Valerie Leung Senior Administration Officer

I joined St David’s in September 2015 as a Senior Administrator to support the training and consultancy work of AFA Cymru. In May 2019 I moved across to the main St David’s office where I currently provide administrative support to the Adopting Together Service. I have worked in a number of administrative posts over the past 40 years, included CID Admin for the South Wales Police Service, Child Protection Training for Cardiff City Council and as a Senior Administrator for BAAF Cymru.

Social Work Team

Alyson Senior Social Worker

I have been a Senior Social Worker at St David’s since September 2020. I qualified as a social worker in 1988, and worked in Child Protection Teams in Wales before moving to England in 1999. I worked in some of the London Boroughs in the child protection/safeguarding teams. I was a Team Manager of a Child Care Team in Berkshire for 12 years, before returning to Wales in 2019.

Clare Senior Social Worker

I have worked at St David’s since September 2020 as a Senior Social Worker. Prior to joining St David’s I worked for 14 years in the field of Fostering & Adoption for another children’s charity. I started my social work career in local authority working for the child disability team.

Donna Senior Social Worker

I have been employed as a senior social worker for St David’s since April 2021. I qualified in 2000 with a Master’s Degree in social work and have worked in a variety of posts including Local Authority, NHS and Charitable organisations, the most recent being within a specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Team. I qualified as a Systemic (Family Therapy) Practitioner in 2020.

Elaine Senior Social Worker

I qualified in 2003 with a post graduate diploma and Master's Degree in Social work from Cardiff university. I worked in Local authority child protection teams and field work teams within children and family services for several years. After this I became a supervising social worker on a fostering team and moved into Adoption in 2012. I joined St. Davids in 2018 as a senior Social Worker.

Glenda Senior Social Worker

Marrianne Senior Social Worker

I joined St David’s in 2016 as a Trainer Consultant for AFA Cymru. I changed role in March 2021, taking a post as a senior social worker. Before working for AFA Cymru, I had worked in local authority child protection, fostering and adoption. I had also worked as a lecturer in health and social care and childcare. In addition to my current role in St David’s, I am an independent trainer consultant for Coram BAAF and AFA Cymru.

Sue Senior Social Worker

I have worked for St David’s as an Independent Social Worker for a number of years before I joined them as a permanent member of staff in August 2021. I have been a Social Worker for 28 years, having begun my career as Hospital Social Worker and then working in a variety of roles within Adult Services before making the transition into adoption in 2010. I remember thinking at the time, “my goodness this is complex and so much to learn”. I soon came to realise that adoption is an ever- evolving area and one that I am constantly learning from. I have been fortunate during my career to see positive change and developments in adoption that have benefitted both the children awaiting adoptive placements as well as the prospective adopters going through the process to become adoptive parents, which I have welcomed.


Terry Champkin

Terry is an adoption experienced person.

Phillip Chick

Phillip works in the National Health Service in Wales, specialising in Mental Health Services.

Terry Connor

Terry is a retired CEO of a Voluntary Adoption Agency.

Delyth Ann Evans

Delyth is a retired Social Worker who has worked within third and statutory sector settings specialising in adoption. Delyth worked for Adoption Matter in developing adoption support services.

Dr Kerry Ann Holder

Kerry Ann is a Clinical Psychologist working in National Health Service in Wales and is an adoption experienced person.

Arfon Jones, (Vice Chair)

Arfon is an adoption experienced person and a lay preacher.

Andrew Lusk

Andrew is a retired senior manager with extensive experience of working in the third sector. He currently also sits on the board of an autism organisation supporting children and young people in education.

Mandy McGowan

Mandy is a foster carer who works with young children helping them to move on to permanent arrangements.

Frank Moloney

Frank is an adopted person and an adoptive parent . Has a background in business development in various sectors, his principal business being partner, leading the professional team in the Cardiff cluster of Specsavers practices .

Katherine Shelton, (Chair)

Katherine is a Professor at Cardiff University School of Psychology and the project lead for the Wales Adoption Cohort Study.

Matt Clark

Matt is an experienced communications consultant who been discovering and telling brand stories for over 25 years, with specialisms including brand positioning, communications planning and copywriting.