Our Policy, Research and Development Team consist of a range of consultants with different specialisms. These include legal and health issues, different aspects of care planning, adoption, fostering and special guardianship, and black and minority ethnic issues. Consultants develop good practice guidance and help shape policy at national level. They also represent members' views in key government committees and other national and specialist forums. The team also advises government and responds to consultations, comments on new initiatives and considers proposed legislative change.

Our consultants

Paul Adams, Fostering Development Consultant

Paul qualified as a social worker in 1993, having been inspired by working as a foster carer in the US, and has worked predominantly in local authority children’s services, as a front-line social worker and managing child care and fostering teams. He is an experienced Chair of fostering and adoption panels, was previously a foster carer, and is now an adopter.  Other roles include interim manager, consultant, trainer, and conference speaker, in the UK and abroad.

Paul joined BAAF as a Fostering Development Consultant in 2010, and since then has authored Good Practice Guides on parent and child fostering, contact in permanent placements, social work with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children, dogs and pets in fostering and adoption, and undertaking checks and references in assessments. 

He has also written a number of practice notes, and developed Form C (connected persons) with an accompanying good practice guide (in progress), Form FR (fostering reviews) with accompanying good practice guidance, and has considerably revised Form F (fostering assessments) in England.

Paul sits on the CoramBAAF UK Social Work Practice Group and the Kinship Care Alliance amongst other groups, and his work includes providing media interviews and statements, and working to influence fostering policy.

Elaine Dibben, Adoption Development Consultant

Elaine started her social work career in residential social work and qualified in 1988. She has over 25 years' experience of working in adoption and fostering in local authority and voluntary adoption agency settings. She joined BAAF in 2004 to become manager of the Independent Review Mechanism, which she set up and ran until 2009, when she moved to take on a wider role in BAAF as a trainer/consultant.

She was part of the DfE Expert Working Party on adoption, set up in 2012 to inform adoption policy, and currently sits on the National Recruitment Forum, a sub-group of the Adoption Leadership Board. She has written several books published by BAAF/CoramBAAF - Devising a placement plan, Parent and child fostering, Preparing to adopt, Undertaking an adoption assessment in England and Completing a child's permanence report. Elaine is also a Panel Chair for both adoption and fostering panels.

Ellie Johnson, Health Group Development Officer

Ellie graduated from Manchester University with a nursing degree and worked as a nurse, midwife, health visitor and specialist public health practitioner in the NHS for 25 years. She was a designated nurse for looked after children for 14 years and chaired a regional LAC nursing network. During this time she was also involved in a joint project with the National Children's Bureau focusing on inequalities in health experienced by looked after children. 

Ellie joined CoramBAAF in 2017.

Dr Louise SimsKinship Care and Fostering Consultant 

Louise joined CoramBAAF in 2020 in a new role, specialising in Kinship Care and Fostering. With more children than ever before being placed with family and friends’ carers, Louise will offer further support to the work of CoramBAAF members in developing best practice and influencing policy.  

Louise qualified as a social worker in 2003 and worked as a practitioner specialising in fostering and adoption for 10 years before undertaking her doctorate exploring matching practices. She has taught on a range of social work graduate, postgraduate and CPD courses at the University of Sussex. Her research includes DfE evaluations of innovation projects and co-produced evaluations of practice initiatives through the South East Teaching Partnership. Louise has recently worked with colleagues at West Sussex County Council developing policy systems and as a facilitator for the Practice Supervisor Development Program.