Our Trustees

As a charity, Adoption Focus is governed by a highly experienced and supportive Board of Trustees. The Trustees contribute to the effective management and operation of the organisation and provide invaluable expertise and guidance.


Benjamin James


Benjamin James - Adoption Focus Trustee

Benjamin James has chaired the board of trustees since 2009. He is a solicitor and specialises in charity, commercial and intellectual property law. He has been a partner in various law firms since 2008 and is based in London. Benjamin advises a number of charities in relation to their legal and governance requirements. He has been a trustee of numerous charities over his career and is currently a trustee of Triangle Project, as well as the American Friends of Centrepoint and Walk the Walk America. Benjamin is a member of the International Trade Mark Association Not-for-Profit Committee, which provides trade mark guidance and support for not-for-profit organisations throughout the world. His other interests include travel, conservation, reading and fencing (sabre, not post and rail). 






Graham Harwood


Graham Harwood - Adoption Focus Trustee

As a Chartered Public Finance Accountant, Graham Harwood (CPFA, MBA, DPhil) occupied senior finance positions in a range of Public Authorities including Essex County Council (Education and Social Services) and LB Hackney and LB Southwark (Housing Services). After completing an MBA and later a DPhil he was invited to take up a visiting fellowship with the International Management Centre and subsequently lectured on in-company MBA programmes in Europe and Australia. 

Concurrent with the above, and prior to retirement he worked for several years as an independent Consultant to the Metropolitan Police and HM Inspector of Constabularies and was awarded a Commendation from the then Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair.

He was invited to act as an independent Chair on the Triangle Project at its inception and provided support and advice specifically in regard to Grant funding applications and development of a sustainable business plan. 


Janet Forster


Janet Forster - Adoption Focus Trustee

Janet lives with her husband and two grown up daughters in London.

She studied English Literature at university in the seventies but wanted to help young people so her first job was in a children’s home.  She loved working with the children so much that she went back to university to train as a social worker. 

Janet was a social worker in Coventry for 17 years before moving to a job in London. Eventually she became a senior manager in Surrey with responsibility for child protection, children in care, fostering, adoption and residential homes.  She was also the adoption decision maker for Surrey County Council.

Janet says, 'Since retiring I have the time to focus on things which interest me, where hopefully the skills and knowledge I have learnt will be of use to others. I have known many adoptive children over the course of my career who have thrived and blossomed with their new parents. This is why I became a trustee of Adoption Focus; to support those children and families. 


Anthony Lawton OBE


Anthony Lawton - Adoption Focus Trustee

Originally qualified as a teacher, Anthony Lawton (MBA, MA)  studied aspects of business, management and governance at Leicester Poly, Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, London Business School & Ashbridge. He has been involved in local and national charities variously as a trustee, volunteer, employee and consultant since his undergraduate days at Oxford University.

Now retired from being employed, he most recently worked as an interim CEO in cultural and educational charity enterprises, after a long spell as CEO of the national youth homelessness charity Centrepoint in the 2000s. He is currently a trustee of two grant-making charities, one national and one local, and chair of a small family firm in the book industry. He was appointed OBE for services to young people and charity in 2007.




Sunny Kumar 


Sunny Kumar Adoption Focus Trustee with his family

"I come from an administration and customer service background. I gave up working life when my wife and I adopted a little boy through Faith in Families. I recently joined Adoption Focus board of trustees as part of the recent merger with Faith in Families. I wish to give back to Adoption Focus my knowledge and experience of the adoption process, also to encourage other people to follow in our steps in giving a child a start in life."






John Bale


John joined the board of Adoption Focus from our merger with Faith in Families, where he had variously been a Trustee, Chair of the Finance & General John Bale Adoption Focus Trustee Purposes Committee and Chair of the Board for ten years. He had joined that Board in 2000, following the marvellously successful adoption of his two daughters through the agency.

John has previously held executive positions in IBM and Accenture. He runs a management consulting practice, Bale Crocker, advising international clients on leadership and selling.  He was a Non-executive Director of a large NHS Foundation Trust running three hospitals in the midlands and helped to lead it into a complex merger to form a new £1BN pa NHS trust. He is also a Non-executive Director of a fast-growing food distributor in the East of England. 

John is a Senior Associate of Cambridge Judge Business School and was a Founding Fellow of the Institute of Professional Sales (FIPS) and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts (FRSA). He has three grown-up children and lives with his wife in South Derbyshire. He’s a keen skier and light aircraft pilot.



Helen Child


Helen Child - Adoption Focus Trustee

Helen is Head of Governance at the Gambling Commission. Having studied history and international politics at Newcastle and the LSE, she has worked in several public sector roles and in the charity sector. Hailing originally from Lincolnshire, Helen now lives in Ashby de la Zouch with her family and three small dogs. She was part of a team of people who started the Ashby Food Bank. Helen has adopted children within her family and is keen to support children having safe, stable and loving childhoods.






Mark Tobin


Mark began his social work career in 1996 and has 27 years experience in both local authority and voluntary sector roles working with children and families. HeMark Tobin - Adoption Focus Trustee specialised in Adoption and Permanence in 2009 and after managing local authority adoption services in the North West was part of a project team that developed one of the first Regional Adoption Agencies to go live in 2017. He has had significant involvement nationally in the development of RAA services and has influenced practice across the adoption sector. Latterly since 2019 was Head of Service for a midlands based Regional Adoption Agency working closely with Adoption Focus colleagues.  He also led the development of a practice model for Early Permanence in 2023 for Midlands adoption agencies. Mark is keen to continue to use his knowledge experience in making a contribution to achieving positive outcomes for children via his trustee role.