Beginnings Family Services

Management Team

Beginnings is professionally managed by the following team:

  • Amanda Baigent

    Amanda has a Bachelor of Social Work Degree (1988), University of Windsor and a Masters of Social Work Degree (1996) , Wilfrid Laurier University. She has worked in the field of adoption for the past 18 years. She has recently joined Beginnings Family Services and is thrilled to be working in the private sector. Between the years of 2000-2017 as an Adoption Worker, Amanda completed over 350 public adoptions. During that time Amanda spearheaded the “Infant Consent Adoption Program” and was instrumental in the leadership of this program. She embraces openness in adoption and has done so since the inception of her career in this field. Amanda joined Beginnings as the Clinical Director in January 2018 and initially completed the intakes of new waiting adoptive families and welcomed them onto our active list. Upon Kerry’s retirement in July 2018, Amanda moved into the role of the Executive Director at Beginnings Family Services located in Hamilton, Ontario.  She also oversees Beginnings Pregnancy Care Centres in Cobourg, Guelph and Woodstock.  She is a parent of 3 teenage boys and has the full support of her children and her husband, Raj in her new position. She has completed extensive training in the area of Child Welfare and Adoption as well as Attachment Issues.

  • Megan Dunlop-Elms
    Megan Dunlop-Elms BA, Director of Administration

    Megan has been part of the Beginnings family for over 10 years. She is currently the Director of Administration where she is responsible for the management of corporate business including license and accreditation renewals, administration, personnel, human resources, budget management and donor development for both charities. Prior to this position Megan was the Manager of Administrative Services for Beginnings. She has also served on the Beginnings Board of Directors. Megan has a wealth of adoption experience as she and her husband have adopted two children through Beginnings. Megan also has worked at a local Children’s Aid Society as a Foster Parent/Adoptive Parent Recruiter. In earlier years she worked in donor stewardship at a Hospital Foundation, where she was responsible for events, donor recognition, grants, awards, bursaries and scholarships. Megan holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.

  • Mary Howlett Nero
    Mary Howlett Nero MSW, RSW, Embryo Donation Program Coordinator

    Mary has been working as an Approved Adoption Practitioner with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services since 1997 and has maintained a private practice in which she has assisted hundreds of families with private domestic, international and public adoptions. Previously, she worked as a Family Service Worker at the Toronto Children’s Aid Society. She has also done vocational counselling and drug and alcohol addiction counselling and was a board member for an organization supporting homeless youth. In 2009, Mary joined Beginnings Family Services as their Adoption Practitioner. In 2010, she took on the role of managing the agency’s Embryo Donation Program and assists clients interested in donating or receiving embryos. Mary is a registered member of the Ontario College of Social Workers (OCSWSSW), of the Ontario Association of Social Workers (OASW) and of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS).

  • Tonya Noble
    Tonya Noble M.A., Director of Education

    Tonya Noble has a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology.  She has spent many years working with families, couples, individuals, adolescents, and children, addressing issues related to grief and loss, parenting, special needs, adoption, addiction, anger and conflict, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, trauma and attachment. Tonya has particular expertise in bereavement work and has facilitated groups for adolescents and children through Bereaved Families of Ontario. She has a National Community Crisis Response certificate from NOVA (National Organization for Victim Assistance). Tonya has been working in the field of adoption for over 15 years and is an approved Trainer for Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education (P.R.I.D.E.) with the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies. Tonya has counselled birth parents and adoptive families throughout the adoption process, providing ongoing support and education for families pre and post-placement.  As the Director of Education for Beginnings Family Services, Tonya supervises and facilitates education and training programs for all the Beginnings locations.  She has recently initiated a Beginnings Healthy Choices and Decision Making Program for youth in high school settings.

  • Aideen Hennessy
    Aideen Hennessy CGA, Director of Administration & Finance

    Aideen is a professional accountant with many years of finance and management experience working in a variety of different industries including corporate, small business and non-profit.  Aideen is working concurrently as the Director of Finance at United Way Oakville.   Aideen is a fellow member of the Chartered Certified Accountants UK.  She currently oversees and manages all finance functions at Beginnings.

  • Jean Haase
    Jean Haase MSW, RSW, Infertility Counselling & Embryo Donation Consultant

    Jean has 25 years experience as a Social Worker in the fields of reproductive health, infertility and adoption. During this time she has specialized in third party conception such as egg and sperm donation, infertility counselling, and the policy issues related to assisted human reproduction. Jean founded a support network for families created from donor insemination and egg donation – the Donor Conception Network of Southwestern Ontario, which meets in London and Toronto. At a national level, Jean is an active member of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS). She was a founding member and past chair of the Canadian Special Interest Group for Counsellors. In 2009, Jean completed a 2 year Executive Interchange secondment with Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, the Federal agency formerly responsible for overseeing the legislation pertaining to fertility treatment in Canada. Jean is the author and co-author of several articles and book chapters on issues related to assisted human reproduction. She has been an invited speaker at conferences in Canada, USA, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Australia. Jean is a registered member of the Ontario College of Social Workers & Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and belongs to the Ontario Association of Social Work (OASW).

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