The Trustee Board


IRCT is a charity governed by a Board of Trustees elected from its membership. There are some formal roles to comply with the requirements of the Charities Commission and Companies House and then internal areas of responsibility which help us to develop the work of the organisation. All of our trustees are volunteers; IRCT also has a patron who supports the work of the charity but who is not a member of the board.

Lord Francis Listowel, Patron

Lord Listowel has taken a lifelong interest in disadvantaged young people and since entering the House of Lords in 1998 he has worked with charities, practitioners  and government bodies to highlight the importance of appropriate training and support for those working with vulnerable young people in a bid to improve services. He works tirelessly to support the work of the IRCT.

Sylvia Duncan, Chair of the IRCT

Sylvia Duncan is a Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist who since qualifying in 1972  has dedicated her professional life to working with traumatised children and adults. She has researched and published widely in the field of child abuse and neglect and provided therapeutic services for children and families in recovery. She has always believed that the best potential therapeutic resource for helping children to recover from early trauma is those involved in their day to day care and education, provided that these adults are in receipt of appropriate training and support to be able to look behind the behaviour of the child to try to understand what the emotional drives might be for it thus enabling the development of appropriate strategies for responding to the child’s  emotional needs and not just  managing and trying to control their behaviour. She continues to offer consultation and training to parents, carers and other professionals working with abused, neglected and traumatised children to promote recovery from trauma.

Elizabeth Totman, Company Secretary

Liz is a founder member of IRCT. She has considerable experience in Children’s Social Care, including ten years as Head of Corporate Parenting for Kent County Council. In this role she was responsible for managing Disabled Children’s Services, Adoption, Fostering, and Asylum Seeking Children services, and the Virtual School Kent. Liz was responsible for helping to establish a hugely successful specialist therapeutic re-parenting fostering service in Kent for traumatised children who were considered hard to place.

Carrie Wilson-Harrop, Membership Lead and Joint LAC Lead

Carrie Wilson-Harrop is a Care Leaver and currently works as the Young People’s and Project Coordinator at the Care Leavers Association. In addition, she is a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer for IFCO and has other voluntary roles. She advises the Board on LAC issues and oversees the membership network.

Patrick Finegan

Patrick is a qualified teacher with extensive experience in all phases of education. He is an experienced Virtual Head for Looked After Children  and was a lead Ofsted Inspector. He was a ministerial adviser for Edward Timpson MP and the Department for Education, and has undertaken commissions for the National College for Teaching and Learning. He was previously a highly successful Primary Head taking two schools out of Ofsted categories, and a school adviser in a Local Authority. Patrick has extensive inspection experience in all types of schools, Local Authorities and Virtual Schools. He was previously an expert witness for the House of Commons Select Committee for Looked After Children. Patrick is an experienced writer, trainer and consultant who specialises in helping schools not only to become ‘Outstanding’ overall  but especially to improve the educational outcomes for  vulnerable children.  Patrick runs Sutton Education Solutions Ltd which has recently undertaken commissions for numerous Local Authorities.

Mary Walsh, Joint LAC Lead / Training

Mary is a Social Worker who spent many years working in the field of child protection before developing a specialist therapeutic residential care service for profoundly traumatised children (SACCS).  As founder and chief executive of SACCS Care Mary was at the forefront of delivering recovery for traumatised children for more than 30 years. Mary invested heavily in the training of her staff developing a specialist qualifying Foundation Degree course for residential carers. She is helping IRCT develop guidelines for training the children’s workforce.

James McAllister, Child Mental Health

James is a UKCP registered Child Psychotherapist with  an MA in Transpersonal Child, Adolescent and Family Therapy and a Postgraduate Diploma in Psychosynthesis Counselling. He also has a Diploma in Creative Supervision

James has worked as  an adult counsellor, a child psychotherapist in several schools,  a therapist in a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, and now as a supervisor to therapists, who are often working with traumatised children. Having developed a particular specialist interest in complex trauma, in 2008 he began to work as a creative attachment therapist with Catchpoint Ltd. (a post adoption agency) providing family focused therapy and support to children who suffered early developmental trauma and to the parents who were often experiencing secondary trauma.

James is keen to promote the right for all to recover from early developmental trauma and for all practitioners and professionals working with children in this field to have the opportunity to understand the effects of trauma and how to respond more effectively.

Stephanie Hunter, Training

Stephanie qualified as a Social Worker in 1997. She worked for thirteen years in Local Authority Children’s Services, CAFCASS and CAMHS, winning national awards and accolades for the services she set up and managed for CAMHS. Stephanie has previously worked as a Senior Lecturer at the University of  Sunderland  Department of Childhood Studies where she taught Law and modules related to her specialist research and clinical interests including attachment and promoting recovery from trauma. Stephanie has ongoing links with her Local Authority Adoption Team and recently undertook and published some joint research related to post-adoption support for promoting recovery from trauma. She is an experienced trainer and has developed an online CPD training package on recovery from trauma and attachment which has been well received.

Jacqui Sansom

Jacqui runs her own programme, working with parents to resolve conflict and to create a secure family for children to thrive in. She began her legal career specialising in domestic violence and everything that flows from the breakdown of relationships, combining that with the role of treasurer for a women’s refuge, progressing up to being a family and child protection lawyer for over 20 years. During this time she has seen parental conflict lead to children failing at school, struggling to fit in socially and the impact this has on their well-being and long-term happiness.

The Powerful Parenting Programme is a structured and strategic approach based on Jacqui’s belief that to change parenting behaviour it is essential to understand ourselves better and identify our beliefs.

Jacqui was delighted to be invited to become a trustee of the IRCT, a role that she took up in 2019.   The mission and principles of the charity completely align with her own desires to become a part of one of the driving forces to make sustainable long-term changes for children.