Understanding Special Needs
AdoptOntario™ is a not-for-profit service operated by the Adoption Council of Ontario and financially supported by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Learn about the incredible AdoptOntario team and program. Learn more about our program and our incredible team below.
Click on the name below to expand and read about their roles within the AdoptOntario program.
Dianne Mathes was a therapist in private practice with a specialty in adoption. She has worked for the last 25 years in the area of adoption reunion, trauma counselling and attachment therapy, with counselling and retreat locations in Muskoka and Toronto.
As Program Manager, Karisa Farinha brings her experience in social work – including two years of child protection experience in London, England – to the AdoptOntario team. Karisa works with the team, and adoption field in creating new and innovative ways to support Waiting Children in the province through recruitment and adoption events. With over eight years as a Clinical Coordinator and ARE Coordinator, Karisa brings her insight and passion to the ongoing development of the AdoptOntario program as Program Manager. She believes that every child and youth have a forever family and that it is just about finding the right one.
Judith is a registered social worker specializing in fostering and adoption. Over the past 20 years Judith’s professional experience has reflected a diverse portfolio. She has worked in child welfare, fostering, private and inter-country adoption, as well as developed and facilitated workshops for adoption and permanency community members. Judith has sat as a panellist and presented as a keynote speaker at numerous adoption events and is the co-founder and facilitator of the Adult Adoptee Network, a safe space for adult adoptees to share their experiences. Judith brings both her professional knowledge and personal experience as an adoptee to her role as Senior Clinical Coordinator in the AdoptOntario Team. Judith is a passionate advocate for adoptees ensuring they and their families receive ongoing support throughout their lifelong adoption journeys.
Elaine brings over three decades of international and inter-provincial social work experience in Child Welfare and Adoption; working with all members of the adoption galaxy. Elaine has developed and trained trauma-informed curricula for permanency parents, educators, child welfare, and mental health professionals. She is a certified trainer of both the Adoption Competency Training course for professionals, and the Pathways for Parents course for adoptive parents. As a Senior Clinical Coordinator, Elaine focusses on building collaborative relationships with workers and families across the province as well as supporting the recruitment process to provide timely permanency for children and youth. Elaine is passionate about changing the trajectory of children and youth in the child welfare system by helping to establish permanent family relationships that are supportive and supported.
As a Clinical Coordinator, Erin Barlow brings her experience in Child Protection and Foster Family support work, to AdoptOntario. In her current position, Erin supports Adoption Workers with the recruitment and registration of children and families, using the AdoptOntario platform. Erin facilitates contact with prospective parents, in order to provide informative guidance regarding the adoption process. Erin is passionate about the importance of consistent support in a child’s life. This belief motivates her to explore suitable connections among prospective parents and children seeking adoptive homes.
As a Clinical Coordinator, Vivian McCauley brings her social work experiences in child protection and school settings to AdoptOntario. She also has worked directly with children who benefitted from additional supports, specifically targeting life skills development. Vivian brings both local and international work experience to the team. In her position, Vivian supports adoption workers through profiling and registering children using the AdoptOntario platform. She also provides information and guidance to prospective adoptive parents regarding the adoption process. Vivian believes in the importance of the wellbeing and happiness of young people and this motivates her to find warm and supportive adoptive homes for every child and youth.
As a clinical coordinator, Virginia aims to support waiting children across Ontario by engaging with different members of the adoption community through AdoptOntario’s unique recruitment opportunities and events. With a passion for child welfare and a personal connection to the adoption galaxy, Virginia’s work is shaped by her understanding of trauma and development, and the importance of attachment in permanency. While not her first language, Virginia has a good understanding of French and is happy to assist where she can. In her free time, Virginia enjoys being active and volunteering in her community.
As ARE Coordinator, Anna works with the team to coordinate adoption events, from our smaller virtual events to our larger Provincial/Regional in-person events (prior to Covid, of course) for prospective adoptive parents. With over 20 years of experience in communications roles, Anna hopes that her commas are in the proper place. She is ecstatic to be in this position in assisting the team on finding permanency within the galaxy.
As Communications-Administrative Coordinator, Francesco works with the team to put together adoption events for prospective adoptive parents, where they can learn more about Waiting Children and resources that are available. With experience in various communications roles, Francesco brings creativity and authenticity to the position. He is passionate about doing his part to find permanency for children and youth in Ontario.
The AdoptOntario program …