We will be your extended family and support.
The fostering team offers a diverse level of knowledge and experience to guide, support and advise foster carers.
You will be able to access someone from the team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and every day of the year.
Fleur has been with the agency 10 years, commencing employment as a supervising social worker and becoming Agency Manger in 2012. Fleur has a background in residential management, having established a successful residential children’s home herself. Fleur worked in a Local Authority area team, managing safeguarding and care management. Fleur has experience of working with Leaving Care and Youth Offending. In addition , Fleur was part of a team, setting up a therapeutic Local Authority residential home for younger children being prepared for foster care. Fleur will be taking on the position of Head of Service and lead the agency in the next stages of development, together with becoming the Responsible Individual.
Helen has been with the agency since 2005. Helen brought with her a wealth of experience of working in a voluntary fostering agency, Shropshire local authority (Child Protection and Trading Standards) and an independent fostering agency in Shropshire. Helen is also Panel Administrator and responsibility for all aspects of facilitating the foster panel.
Kathryn qualified with Post Graduate Diploma in 2008, upgrading to a Masters in Social Work in 2009. Kathryn previously worked for the Options Group in residential as a Therapeutic Support Worker during 2004-2005. Going on to study for and complete her Degree, with a dissertation on the subject of The Experiences of Siblings of Disabled Children. Post qualifying Kathryn has worked in a Local Authority area team working with generic cases, holding the majority of child protection cases.
Kathryn joined Sunflower Fostering in January 2010 as a Supervising Social Worker. In October 2012 Kathryn successfully gained the post of Senior Practitioner becoming involved with complex cases and taking a supervision role of social workers in the team. In August 2013 Kathryn completed a post graduate qualification with Bournemouth University in Enabling Work Based Learning for Social Work Students completing level 2 and 3 in social work practice placements.
In July 2018 Kathryn took the position of Deputy Manager, taking a lead role in child protection and safeguarding matters, providing mentorship for social workers where required.
Ben completed his second practice placement as a social work student, with the agency, joining the agency full time in April 2012. Ben has eight years experience of working for a Local Authority residential service and developed from the role of residential worker to senior of a residential team.
Paula joined the agency in January 2015. Paula previously worked in the adult prison service which inspired her to choose social work as a career path. Paula completed placements in mental health and a mother and baby unit. Paula remained with the mother and baby unit for two years. Before becoming employed with Sunflower Fostering, Paula worked in a local authority residential assessment home for children and young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties for three years.
Grace joined the agency in November 2015. She has worked in managing supervised family contact subject to contact plans under Public and Private Law. Following working in a number of counties across the Country Grace related to Shropshire from Hastings.
Aileen joined Sunflower Fostering in January 2014. Aileen completed a placement with another independent foster agency whilst completing her Degree. Aileen has previous experience of working with substance misuse, mental health and family disputes.
Natasha joined Sunflower Fostering in August 2015. Natasha has a range of admin experience and knowledge and takes the lead admin role for all aspects of recruitment and marketing including leading and implementing the social media plan throughout the year.
Natasha will often support with recruitment events and activities.
Natasha has taught gymnastics to children and young people from the ages of 2 up to 14 years.
Stuart joined Sunflower Fostering in June 2016 as a Family Support Worker. He has previously worked in residential for Hillcrest Children’s Services Ltd, where he gained 8 years of experience.
Stuart was keen to transfer his skills to supporting children and families. Stuart brings a wealth of experience of direct work with children and young people. Stuart provides a valuable role to the social work team, supporting and supervising contacts, direct work with children and transport. Stuart is involved in running the ‘Spaghetti Club’. Stuart supports foster families with health and safety and IT in the foster homes.
Alisha joined Sunflower Fostering in July 2017 as a Business Administration Apprentice. Following the completion of her apprenticeship, Alisha took on the role of Fostering Team Clerk in July 2018. Alisha supports foster carers and the fostering team with administration tasks.
I joined the agency as a student social worker. Following this I returned to my job n a local authority residential home before taking on a full time social work position with Sunflower Fostering, in 2012. My role entails working directly with foster carers and their families. I think it’s just as important to make sure foster carers own families and support networks are ok. Without support networks fostering can be more difficult. I often take carers own children out for a kick about on the local football pitch. The fostering team are close and we work together to help foster carers when they need that bit of extra support.
I run the foster club where children can meet up socially and talk about topics that impact on them and their lives. We hold a couple of big social events a year; at Summer and Christmas time, where foster carers, their families and all children are invited to come along and share the experience.
I have been with the agency ten years and started as a fostering social worker, so I know how important this role is to foster carers. We keep case loads low so that when foster carers need it, the worker is there and ready to support.
The agency has grown over the last few years but there are no plans or pressures to become too ‘big’. Our foster carers tell us it’s like being part of a family which they feel is really supportive. I think people who decide to foster are wonderful people and they change the lives of children by giving them new and positive experiences.
The best part of my job is meeting people thinking about fostering and watching them on their journey, it’s an enriching process and a pleasure to work alongside people who make such a difference to children’s lives, who without them, could easily find themselves living with ten plus families before they’re a teenager; no one wants that for a child.
I really enjoy my job, I’ve worked in many sectors of care and work with the residential teams also. I am the link therapist to the fostering team and work closely with foster carers, directly with children and support the social workers with joint visits and training. We have a purpose built therapy centre where children can feel safe to explore their feelings and enjoy creating a mess and using play to explore and share their feelings.
I am able to act quickly when a foster carer, or a child needs immediate support and as fairly large therapy team, we can work together to get the right support. Such as working with the forensic psychologist if a young person is stealing or at risk of any kind of anti-social behaviour.
I think the foster carers really value the therapeutic support, resources available and especially that there are no long waiting lists. I know the fostering team have agreed to fund therapy as part of the package when a particular foster carer was in crisis, as it would have taken too long for the local authority to agree funding.