Our Team

Our multi-disciplinary team has a wealth of experience and up-to-date expertise in adoption, kinship 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.

Angie Gillies

Executive Director

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.

Maggie Grant

Research Associate

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 AFKA 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 Kaur

Trainer Consultant

Ravinder is a qualified social worker with over 25 years’ childcare experience in local authorities and latterly in the voluntary sector as one of the founding members of AFKA Scotland. Ravinder is the course leader for two postgraduate courses: Securing Children’s Futures (all aspects of permanence) and Relative Matters (kinship care), both accredited by the University of Strathclyde. Ravinder has many years of experience delivering a range of training and workshops as well as chairing adoption and fostering panels for several agencies. Ravinder has also been an Agency Decision Maker. Additionally, she facilitates the Family Placement Forum, which promotes good practice for family placement social workers.

Rhona Pollock

Legal Consultant

Rhona provides legal input across AFKA 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 Reilly

Business Support and Finance Manager

Brenda is based in the office and manages all administrative and business aspects of AFKA 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 AFKA Scotland’s services, and also manages the postgraduate courses and consultancy projects. Brenda previously worked for BAAF for 12 years.

Jane Steele

Trainer Consultant

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 Cleary


Jessica joined the team in September 2020 as a researcher to support the research activities AFKA Scotland undertakes. As well as supporting our Research Associate, Maggie Grant, in providing updates on current research for all AFKA Scotland forums Jessica is currently working on a study exploring cross-border adoptions funded by Scotland’s Adoption Register. In 2018 she completed her Master of Science in Criminology from the University of Stirling and is currently undertaking her PhD research in the same field, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Previous to her role with AFKA Scotland, Jessica gained invaluable experience during a research internship with the Independent Care Review, in partnership with Evaluate Support Scotland, where she worked within the Data and Evidence Team tasked with evaluating and evidencing the methodology used to conduct the national review of Scotland’s ‘care system’. Jessica has also recently completed a research fellowship funded by the British Association of Social Work reviewing the role of social workers during disasters in light of the Covid19 pandemic.

Cristina Costanza

Administrative Assistant

Cristina provides administrative support to the Business Support and 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.

Mark Hardy


Mark started with AFKA Scotland in September 2021 as a Researcher, supporting AFKA’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 AFKA, 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

Kinship Care Consultant

Anne Thom is the Kinship Care Consultant for AFKA 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.

Kate Richardson

Manager/Practitioner, Scotland’s Adoption Register

Kate has been the Manager/Practitioner of Scotland’s Adoption Register since in 2020. She qualified as a Social Worker in 2009 following many years working in residential child care and adult mental health. She spent time as a Children and Families practice team social worker for City of Edinburgh Council before moving to the council’s Family Based Care Department to focus on adoption and permanent fostering. Prior to moving to Scotland’s Adoption Register, Kate was the Lead Practitioner for managing the transitions of children from interim placements to their adoptive and permanent fostering homes.

Jess Austin

Administration & Communications Coordinator, Scotland’s Adoption Register

Jess joined Scotland’s Adoption Register in 2015 and is responsible for the day to running of register services. She has previously worked in various administrative positions for Edinburgh City Council and Scottish Adoption. She completed a BA in Journalism in 2010 and in 2019, completed an Open University module in childhood studies and child psychology. She is now studying for a degree in Arts and Humanities.