1. When did you first start working in Care?
In 1989 as a junior Residential Social Worker. I worked in Lakeview, which was one of Caldecott’s groups in the Mersham Le Hatch building.
2. What attracted you to the job?
I had originally wanted to become a PE and special needs teacher. The year I applied, this course was no longer available and you were unable to specialise in special needs. I saw the job advert and saw it as an opportunity to gain skills and experience in working with children.
3. What do you enjoy most about your job?
As Head of Care, my job is very varied. No two days are the same! I think I most enjoy delivering training to staff. This gives me the opportunity to share my passion and enthusiasm for the work we do.
4. What frustrates you?
The “system” frustrates me…Policy and law are often made by civil servants who do not understand the task of caring for traumatised children. Children’s services budgets are slashed and undue pressure put on the front line services designed to care for the children. This means rather than needs led care, what often happens are decisions are made on the basis of finance.
5. What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the work that I have done with the ICHA (Independent Children’s Homes Association) to challenge the ‘System’. My involvement with the DfE has resulted in an invitation to the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace this spring.
6. How do you think the system could be changed to improve chances for looked after children/students?
It is essential that the system is de-politicised. Policy and planning must stop being made as a knee jerk to political/media agendas and really focus on meeting the needs of the children and young people.
7. When you’re not at work, how do you like to relax?
I have two dogs and I love spending time with them walking in the woods or on the beach; this also provides time to think and reflect on the week. I am also a member of ‘Rock Choir’; we meet weekly and this is real food for the soul!
8. Tell us one thing about you that no-one else knows.
Mmmm something no one else knows….. During the 19 months I spent living and working in America I spent time with the Crow tribe in Montana. During this time I undertook a four day Vision Quest. This involved four days no food or water…. Most people who know me would not think this was possible!!