Who We Are

ISW Team

Maggie Siviter

Independent Social Worker

Maggie Siviter

Maggie is a highly experienced social worker. She has recently retired from 30 years of local authority and agency social work roles and is solely focusing on independent social work. Maggie brings with her an extensive range of experience, including an excellent range of skills across public and private law. More recently she has worked to support parents in revocation of care orders and challenge of local authority practices.

Her local authority experience, which includes London, the West Midlands and the South West includes targeted social work practice to a senior level, child protection conference chairing and management, training IROs and conference chairs, safeguarding service reviews, complaint investigations and deep audit and analysis of legal compliance and practice.

She is a safeguarding trainer for a charity where she is also a trustee.

Maggie came to independent practice in 2016 and specialises in parental alienation assessments; parenting assessments; supervised contact; child’s voice (wishes and feelings) assessments; advocacy and complaint investigations.

She brings a sound evidence base to her assessments and provides thorough analytical assessments. Maggie holds the child central to her practice and is skilled at communicating with children and their families.

She is based in Somerset and can cover the South West, South Wales, South of England and London. 


About me

Sophie Latham

Independent Social Worker

Sophie Latham

Sophie is a qualified Social Worker who has extensive experience working with children and families in private law proceedings.

Sophie worked for Cafcass for 10 years and in this time gained invaluable experience and skills assisting families post separation.

Sophie has consistently received positive feedback for her direct work with children skills and her ability to assess their expressed wishes and feelings in the context of their experiences.

Sophie produces concise and analytical reports and has extensive experience of giving evidence in court. She has experience in cases featuring parental alienation, including transfer of residence cases, and also specialises in removal from jurisdiction cases.

Sophie is based in the south east but can cover all areas of the U.K. She is able to assist with transfer of residence cases, undertake Section 7 reports and parenting assessments and work with parents post separation on a consultancy basis.


About me

Sarah Noel

Independent Social Worker

Sarah Noel

Sarah is an experienced social worker with many years of working with children and families.

She qualified in 2009 with a MSc in Social Work.

She has worked for local authorities in various teams such as Child Protection, Court Team, MASH and the Fostering Team.

During her years of working with the Local Authority she has completed numerous assessments as an assessing Social Worker and ISW, completing S.7 reports, Form F, Parenting assessments, viability assessments and Special Guardianship assessments.

She has assessed complex cases and facilitated Family Group Conferences.

Sarah specialises in direct work with children and families. Sarah has used a range of approaches to support her work, such as story stems, life story work, adult/child attachment interview and CBT approaches.

Sarah has also worked in a mother and ; baby unit where she supported parents and delivered workshops and one to one sessions based on the PAMS assessment model.

She worked through an extensive list of skills and parenting worksheets for parents in assessing their knowledge and capabilities covering all aspects of parenting, budgeting and safety in and out the home. She has also supervised foster carers who have had mother and baby placements, advising on contact arrangements, log recordings and statutory visits.

Sarah’s most current experience has been working in the fostering team with foster carers and looked after children providing a high level of support in a therapeutic agency. She has completed comprehensive risk assessments, matching forms, attended panel, and her focus with the children is providing direct work and coaching.

She is currently completing her CPCAB counselling course and offers counselling skills as part of her work with children and families.

Sarah is passionate about achieving the best outcomes for children and families, she has extensive skills in a wide range of areas and works therapeutically with families.


About me

Donia Goering

Independent Social Worker

Donia Goering

Donia is an experienced social worker qualifying in 2004

Donia has worked in a variety of social work settings ranging from child protection, care proceedings, fostering, adoption and has undertaken independent assessments.  Donia works in London and the Home Counties 

During the time she has practiced, Donia has completed a variety of public and private law assessments, she has also presented cases to a variety of panels and has given evidence in court.

Doni's career began working in a women's refuge and children homes.  This experience has equipped her with the skills to work with children and their parents.  Donia is experienced in empowering and motivating families to enable them to make positive  changes in their lives.

Donia has held several positions as a senior social worker and has some experience of management, she has supported family support workers and newly qualified social workers.

Donia is trained in Motivational Interviewing techniques, which enable professionals to obtain vital information from familes while championing there positive achievements.

Donia is a strong believer in helping parents understanding the impact of their behaviour upon their children.


About me

FSW Team

Dami Ogunshola

Family Support Worker

Dami Ogunshola

Dami Is a qualifying social worker who has recently completed a social work masters degree course at Royal Holloway University.

He has a background of working in semi-independent/supported housing with looked after children and unaccompanied minors.

Whilst studying, Dami has been working on a part time basis for Child and Family Solutions offering support as a Family Support Worker and has a track record of producing detailed reports from his observations.

He is an open-minded, hardworking and reliable practitioner who consistently aims to deliver best practice and appreciates the invaluable supervision he has received which has enhanced his professional practice. He considers himself to be a reflective practitioner.

Dami’s statutory placements at the Royal Borough of Chelsea & Kensington and Westminster City Council, have enabled him to advance with multi-agency working to support and safeguard vulnerable young people.

Dami has a passion to support, help and empower others where possible to ensure all voices are heard.


About me

Josephine Mugisha

Family Support Worker

Josephine Mugisha

Jose has a strong background of supporting young people, with experience varying from SEN, SEMH and EBD. Jose has worked within education, behavioural units and semi independent provisions.

She has found innovative ways to engage with parents during her time and has lead intervention groups that support parents to ensure they can communicate with their children in the best possible way. 

Jose believes the foundation for every child starts with a stable home and she is motivated to achieve this.

She has a warm and approachable manner and is popular with families.


About me

Amanda McPherson

Family Support Worker

Amanda McPherson

Amanda has worked within Family Justice for around 20 years, having worked on the advice line for Reunite Child Abduction Centre, later as a clerk to a Family Lawyer and more recently, since 2012, as a full time McKenzie Friend, running a support organisation called Familia.

Within the last five years Amanda has had a lot of experience with CFS of working directly with families, supervising and supporting parents and children as directed by Court. 

Amanda is a compassionate and caring professional who always puts children at the heart of her work. She is commended for her clear reports and her honest and open manner when needing to challenge parents. 


About me

Clarissa Stevens

Family Support Worker

Clarissa Stevens

Clarissa is a family support worker and youth worker.

She facilitates events, training and workshops along with consultations supporting positive change. She has done  mentoring with parents in Public Law matters to help empower them to see their true worth and specifically to help them navigate through a system which can be confusing for them. She feels it is important to break down the jargon and advocates strongly for them.    

Within the private law arena for CFS she is a resilient and diligent contact supervisor who is able to challenge parents when they are not able to put their children’s needs before their own and she has worked with some complex cases at High Court Level. She was once called unexpectedly to give evidence in just such a case and we share a wry smile to this day at the fact that she was cross examined whilst wearing a track suit in the Royal Courts of Justice. She was in fact commended in the subsequent judgement for the clarity of her evidence as well as of her reports, despite her attitude.


About me

Charles de Richelieu

Family Support Worker

Charles de Richelieu

Charles has a great deal of empathy and wide field of understanding. His life has taken him from the urban sprawl to the Amazonian jungle and everywhere in between.

Along the way he has acquired skills and knowledge which affords him the ability to transfer seamlessly between environments wherever and however they are presented.

Within the last five years his focus has been on social care and child welfare.

He has been with CFS for all this time. He has undertaken several training courses to support his practice and enjoys learning about the area of work in which he now finds himself. He was recently described by a client as “100% reliable, and ‘a real gentleman’

His mature age, reliability and relaxed manner in any situation has proved invaluable and earned him a good reputation with clients and lawyers alike.


About me

Taneeka Bennett

Family Support Worker

Taneeka Bennett

Taneeka is an energetic and committed family support worker with over 13yrs experience working in the social care sector.

She takes a holistic view of her work and is aware that the family is a system and that frequently children are ‘acting out’ as a result of parental conflict and dysfunction.

She has worked in Contact Supervision, Family Mediation, Family Support & Focused Support for young people.

She says “My aim as a professional is to provide families with focussed input that will work towards breaking down the barriers that stand in the way of their being able to achieve positive change. It is important for me to promote good communication and an open and non judgemental attitude towards clients, making working together a comfortable and a safe place.“


About me

Mike Flinn

Therapist and Counsellor

Mike Flinn

Mike is an experienced counsellor who trained in Scotland and England to work with Families, adults and children.

He has been a counsellor for 20 years, initially with Couple Counselling Scotland (now Relationships Scotland) before moving to Shropshire to work for Relate in 2006.

He became self employed in 2015 after the local Relate ceased trading.

He works in secondary schools, in Shropshire and for the local authority Social Services.

He also works to reunite children with estranged parents and supports parents to re start co- parenting, as well as working with couples, adults and children who have personal issues (eg anger management, stress and anxiety) or issues with their relationships (eg communication, boundaries, family systems).

He specialises in working with families who are separating or divorcing, and is experienced in the issues this can bring. He has co -written a course for separating parents, which looks at the issues from the child’s perspective, and how the parents can co parent after separation.

Mike is a member of Resolution UK, because of his focus on working for the best outcomes for families and children. He is an accredited member of BACP, and a member the Institute of Chartered Foresters, because he still loves forestry. and it’s a hard earned qualification that he’s not letting go of!

Mike also enjoys golf and the countryside, which is sometimes a symbiotic relationship, sometimes not...


About me

Emma Foster

Therapist and Counsellor

Emma Foster

Emma is a BACP registered therapist with numerous years of experience of working with both individuals and couples.

She demonstrates extensive knowledge of working with a variety of mental health conditions but specialises in domestic abuse, sexual violence and couples counselling.

She nonetheless amassed the knowledge and training to work slightly differently to the way traditional therapy can look.

She can work with male and female victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. She has worked with a number of charities including ‘East Surrey Domestic Abuse Service’, ‘Your Sanctuary’ and the ‘Rape and sexual abuse support centre’.

She holds a BA in counselling and works to an integrative model. This means that she is able to adapt the way in which she works to suit her client’s needs.

She is a warm and empathic practitioner.


About me

Captain

Therapy Dog

Captain the Therapy Dog

Captain is a 13 year old Jack Russell terrier.

When he lived with Alison in London and was much younger he received some training to be a therapy dog and this means he is judged to be the correct temperament to work with children, elderly people etc.

He is gentle and playful and both children and their parents seem to love him. He is useful when there are young children who find it difficult to express complex feelings and his rather large ‘listening ears’ have been appreciated by many young clients at times when speaking to an adult is just too difficult…
Captain has been available to assist at many an ‘icebreaker’ meeting and works well with our family support worker colleagues to make contact sessions more fun.

He doesn’t charge for his services but appreciates treats.

A 12 year old child who had to move home to live with their other parent very suddenly last year reflected to Alison "When I was really really upset yesterday and threw things, Captain was really calm, I looked at him and felt a bit better, he’s quite a special dog".


About me

Vacancies

Captain is at 13 looking at the prospect of retirement quite fondly especially as he has, during the pandemic, got very used to being able to enjoy much of his day in bed. He would ideally like a younger replacement who he can brief on the challenging yet rewarding role he has enjoyed and he will happily pass on his ‘therapy dog’ collar and lead to a suitable candidate.

Please apply via the enquiries email address if you know of a dog who could follow in Captain’s rather impressive pawsteps.

Interested in joining our team?

Why Choose Us:

Therapeutic social work and systemic therapy with families.

CFS has developed a specialism in cases where there is some evidence of hostile parenting and difficulties with contact and post separation care arrangements. Alison in particular has developed casework expertise in this area over many years having worked as a Guardian and now as an ISW almost exclusively with proceedings involving allegations of parental alienation and associated harm.

She has successfully reunited many children with an estranged parent and where this hasn’t been possible has successfully managed several changes of residence for the children concerned.

All our ISWs however are familiar with and some have specific training in this area of family law and understand the very specific needs of the children involved.

We are able to recognise the signs of children being caught between their parents and also to identify when a parent is actively preventing a child from enjoying a relationship with the other parent following separation.

We have been commended by judges, lawyers and psychologists for our sensitive yet robust approach to this particular family dysfunction and moreover for the good outcomes we achieve.

Future and Past

Reunification Work

We are able to work intensively on a reunification plan for children who have been separated from a parent and where the attachment has been disrupted. Whilst many practitioners work on a daytime only basis we believe that to normalise contact and re-establish a fragmented attachment extended contact is sometime necessary. We utlise the knowledge and expertise, where necessary, of our in house therapists, not all of whom feature on our website and involve the excellent network of advisors and specialists in whom we trust who are on hand to advise on specific issues. 

(more details under ‘what we do’ and also available on request)

REDUCING DELAY

Delay is known to be unhelpful in family cases and is inimical to the best interests of children within proceedings. The stress of court proceedings for all concerned is protracted when there is delay due to reports being ordered that can't start or when there is a wait to allocate an assessor. Here at CFS we are responsive and there is always someone able to begin work within a matter of two or three weeks, sometimes sooner. This also means that you wont usually need to wait to spend time with your children as we can offer almost immediate supervision of contact.

DIRECT AND THERAPEUTIC WORK

We are all skilled in direct work and trained in being able to engage with children of all ages to ascertain their wishes and feelings.

With the many years of experience we all have within family work we have a wealth of tools and resources in order to help put the more nervous child at ease including those with complex special needs.

We sometimes utilise the calming and reassuring presence of Captain the therapy dog who works well with children and parents alike.

Children can exhibit differing and complex reactions to their parents having separated, and we are able to assist and guide parents and carers in how best to manage this unsettling time for them. Between us we have many qualifications and much experience in systemic practice with families.

INTERNATIONAL CASES

We have experience of managing international cases and have experience of working with interpreters and managing the demands of cultural and religious issues.

We can cover cases not in our immediate locality and have worked all over the UK as well as abroad.

We can assist with Leave to Remove applications and have considerable experience in the assessment of such cases.

PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS - ISW TEAM

Our ISWs are all SWE registered, and are also members of NAGALRO, which means they have full professional indemnity insurance.

Some of the ISWs receive professional supervision and we also practice peer supervision as a team.

FSW TEAM

We ensure that we value what the FSW team bring to the company in terms of their knowledge and skill input and their invaluable work with families by proving full professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance cover for them.

All FSW staff have safeguarding training and are recruited and currently supervised by the Director. All reports are quality assured before being sent out.

REFLECTIVE AND RESPONSIVE PRACTICE

We are committed to developing our professional practice in line with emerging research and case law and keep abreast of new developments in these areas. 

We are keen to practice reflectively and to this end we collaborate with each other and frequently co-work so as to learn from each other and benefit from the widest possible skill base.

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