Who We Are


Alison is the founder and director of CFS.

She now practices as an Independent Social Worker and Expert Witness in Family Law.

She deals exclusively with private law cases but offers consultation on public law matters cases when needed.

Having had over two decades of Local Authority social work experience, she is able to offer advice on working with most client groups, although her expertise is mainly in the field of Child Protection.

She has also been a Children’s Guardian- public and private law- for 10 of her years in social work.

She can offer parenting support and advice to groups or families as a stand alone service or as part of an ongoing work plan.

She is experienced in Court work and is a fully qualified paralegal and member of the Professional Paralegals Register.

She is frequently recommended to offer expert assessments and intervention in complex and high conflict cases, some of which are now in the High Court.

She has a particularly robust attitude to cases of Parental Alienation and has successfully helped several alienated parents reunite with their child/ren including where unavoidable, effecting and moreover managing a transfer of residence.

Alison however works to an ethos of shared parenting and is a member of the international organisation Leading Women for Shared Parenting. (http://lw4sp.org)

Alison is experienced in dealing with diversity. She has advised parents in same sex relationships and is also able to assist in culturally complex matters in an informed and skilled way.

Her testimonials from both colleagues and clients attest to the respect she has built up in the Courts and to her good interpersonal skills. She has an energetic and solutions-focussed approach to the challenges of family law and consistently achieves good results for her clients.

Alison is a trained counsellor and has appreciable experience of mediation and conciliation work.

She is now based in Suffolk but is able to cover most of the South and South East and has been known to cover cases further afield.


Hilary is a motivated and experienced social worker who also has nearly two decades of social work practice experience, also with many client groups.

She is skilled in direct work with children and in assessing complex cases and providing child focussed solutions.

Hilary is able to take on assessments in public law proceedings and undertake assessments for Local Authorities.

She had a specialism in assessing for permanency and thus will manage the referrals for adoption and Special Guardian assessments. Her reports have been commended for their helpfulness.

In terms of Private Law proceedings, Hilary, like Alison, has been a Children’s Guardian and thus has appreciable experience of private law and conflict resolution.

Hilary works systemically to assist families and couples within work on an ongoing case or as a stand alone service.

Her testimonials speak to her skills with clients and her professional and focussed approach to practice.

She is based in Essex and can cover London and the East of England.
Trish Berry-Relph

Trish has almost 4 decades of social work experience in children and families, was a joint interview trained ABE child protection social worker, and was warranted under 1983 Mental Health Act in community mental health teams in adult mental health.

Trish has worked as a GP practice counsellor in primary care for many years. In addition to this Trish undertook a 10 year clinical training as a Humanistic Integrative Psychotherapist and a training in group analysis and is an Associate of the Group Analytic Society in London. Trish was a co-founding partner with a Jungian training analyst of a Private Psychotherapy clinic in Dorset which is still thriving 22 years on.

Trish worked as a clinician, a manager and a senior manager in Tier 2, Tier 3 specialist CAMHS and Tier 4 for 20 years. She had been Clinical Director of a Psychotherapy Service offering psychotherapy to adults who were sexually abused as children and to children who had been sexually abused. 

While completing her Professional Doctorate/MA in Advanced Social Work at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Clinic/University of East London Trish worked as a psychodynamic psychotherapist in the parents service and the adolescent department of the Tavistock clinic for many years. Trish initiated and chaired the service user and carer forum at the Tavistock clinic. She was the UK elected social work lead for children and families for the International Society for the Social and Psychological Treatment of the Psychoses for 5 years and has published articles.

Trish has experience as a visiting lecturer at Bournemouth University, Winchester University, East London University and Kingston University in child protection, adult mental health and on the MA in strategic leadership and management. 

Trish has been working nationally as an independent expert witness in the family courts in both public and private law cases offering Special Guardianship assessments, parenting assessments across the South West, the South East and London as far afield as the isle of Jersey.  Trish has undertaken a number of Section 7 reports for private law proceedings.

Trish’s post qualification clinical trainees and experience has enabled her to bring a blend of psychosocial clinical expertise to children, young people and their families in need of a therapeutic and legal intervention.

She has developed a specialist clinical service as a stand alone provision or as part of recommendations following Section 7 assessments and offers co-parenting conciliation work with parents, individual one to one work with children or young people and systemic family work with parents and children who have become estranged from each other.

Trish has undertaken the approved British Psychological Society’s training in the assessment and treatment of suspected or real parental alignment, alienation or estrangement. She is affiliated to the European Association of Parental Alienation Practitioners.

Trish is based in Guildford and covers Surrey and Borders, London, the South East and South West. Trish is a legally professionally registered social worker in the Republic of Ireland and undertakes expert witness work within this jurisdiction. She is an assessor on the CORU Board for International Social Work qualification in the Republic of Ireland. 

Kevin Stroud is an experienced social worker and manager who worked in local authority Children’s Services teams for 20 years before becoming an Independent Social Worker in 2016. His local authority work included reporting in both public and private proceedings. His main areas of expertise are in child protection and permanency planning for children.

Kevin has a record of high standards of social work practice and management and a commitment to personal and organisational development. He has strong communication, assessment and reporting skills and engages instinctively with children and their families.

Since becoming an Independent Social Worker Kevin has undertaken Special Guardianship assessments, reported in private proceedings, acted as an Independent Person for registered children’s homes, supervised contact in high conflict cases and acted as an Independent Member of an adoption and permanency panel.

Kevin offers independence, integrity and innovation with a clear focus on good long term outcomes for children and their families. He is able to undertake a wide range of social work assessment and consultancy work.

He is based in Surrey and works primarily in London and the South East.

Stacey works as a contact supervisor and family support worker.

A lively and motivated worker who is experienced in contact supervision in both private and public proceedings.

She has been commended for her empathic and sensitive approach to working with families. She is able to respond in creative ways to the challenges of the work and is specifically skilled in her communication with children of all ages, which is perhaps attributable to the fact that she is also a published children’s author.

Stacey is a diligent supervisor with a real awareness of safeguarding and has been commended for her very thorough reports.

Amanda McPherson

Amanda works as a family support worker, contact supervisor and McKenzie Friend.

Amanda has worked in Family Law in a variety of roles for over 12 years.

She has been a full time McKenzie Friend since 2012 and deals mainly with Children Act Applications.

She has experience of Public Law (Care) work, but mainly deals with Private Law cases. She mostly supports non-resident parents she will support resident parents who seek to make workable, meaningful arrangements for their children with the other parent, or who have genuine safeguarding concerns for their children.

Amanda has a great deal of experience of dealing with Parental Alienation and cases with high levels of hostility, and has experience of the whole range of hearing types – including Fact Finding, lengthy Final Hearings and Leave to Remove applications.

Amanda formerly worked for reunite Child Abduction Centre and so has experience and knowledge of cases with an international element.

Whilst Amanda doesn't seek Rights of Audience automatically, she has been granted them when necessary and has undertaken Cross Examination on a number of occasions.

As a contact supervisor Amanda has been working for CFS exclusively and usually in a supportive role whereby she assists in managing challenging contact arrangements with the allocated ISW. Her knowledge and understanding of hostile legal proceedings and the affect on children involved makes her an empathic and aware contact supervisor and facilitator.


Robert works as a youth mentor and family support worker. He is newly engaged as a FSW and so at present co-works in this role with our ISW staff.

Robert has used his personal experiences in the care system in inform over 10 years of voluntary work with young people.

This has included international expeditions with youth charities, youth mentoring and research fellowships.

Professionally, in addition to this youth work, he has over eight years’ experience in the international development and consultancy. He has worked in executive management and operations across four continents, growing a technical specialism in supporting grassroots organisations.
His work has seen him support programmes covering education for street children, maternal and neonatal health, early child marriage, FGM, disabilities and SRHR (sexual reproductive health and rights).

Robert is a Fellow at the RSA and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, with whom he carried conducting international research into progressive uses of technology in the adoption of children.

Through personal and professional practice, he has developed rounded communications skills and an ability to form and manage successful relationships with children and adults.

He currently lives in the South West and is comfortable with travelling to support cases.

Anne is a motivated and committed professional with over two decades of experience of family work, and is able to undertake complex assessments in both private and public proceedings.

She has also practiced as a Children’s Guardian and has undertaken within that role, complex 16.4 assessments where the children’s wishes and feelings need to be ascertained against a background of high conflict within their parents’ separation. 

She is knowledgeable and skilled in working in cases where parental alienation is suspected or evidenced and will encourage liaison with other professionals in order to ensure that the appropriate course of action is taken.

Her approach is these situations is robust whilst also being collaborative and she seeks specifically to negotiate agreement even where it would seem unlikely as opposed to continuing with adversarial litigation.  She has ben commended for her work in this area and for having created change for the families with whom she has worked.

Anne has experience of working with cultural and religious diversity including travelling families.  She has undertaken international assessments and is able to travel abroad to work.

Anne is based in Brighton but can cover London and the South of England as well as make herself available in other areas if needed.

WHY CHOOSE US? - Parental Alienation Expertise

CFS has developed a specialism in cases where parental alienation is alleged or evidenced.

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 alienation.  She has successfully reunited many children with an estranged or targeted parent and where this hasn’t been possible has successfully managed a change of residence for the children.

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 form of child abuse and moreover for the good outcomes we achieve.


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


We are all skilled in direct work and trained in being able to engage with children 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. 

Children can exhibit different 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 qualifications and experience in systemic practice with families.


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.


Our ISWs are all HCPC registered, and are also members of NAGALRO, which means we have full professional indemnity insurance.
We receive professional supervision and we also practice peer supervision as a team.
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 believe that children have the right to a relationship with both parents and that shared parenting is likely to best meet the needs of children whose parents have separated.

We actively challenge all forms of discrimination and we value diversity.  We take anti discriminatory social work practice into all our areas of expertise.

 We believe that conciliation and a collaborative approach can work even in the most entrenched situations if we gain the trust of the family involved.


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