Meet the Team

Jonathan Toomey

Responsible Individual

Jonathan can’t remember a time when he wasn’t surrounded by fostering. He grew up in a house with his brothers and sisters and up to five foster siblings, some staying days and others for years. This introduction to the world of fostering clearly informs his approach to work in every way. His parents fostered many young people over a period of more than 30 years, and in March 1989 set up the Fostering Support Group (FSG), the second independent Fostering Service to be established in the UK.

Jonathan joined the family business in 1991, undertaking various roles while gaining experience and undergoing management training. From 2002, Jonathan undertook the role of Operational Director, and from February 2005 until he left the company in 2007, he was the Responsible Individual and Managing Director.

Jonathan’s role

Jonathan established FosterCare UK in April 2007, and performs the strategic planning and direction of the service. He specialises in business development, contracting and commissioning, partnership working and modelling, as well as the setting of service standards.

What makes Jonathan passionate?

“What makes me passionate about the work I do is ensuring we instill consistent standards, make a difference, challenge inequality and advocate for children and young people where nobody else does. I also don’t accept anything else but the best.

Sophie Barton

Agency Decision Maker / QA Director

Sophie qualified as a social worker in 1998 and since then has worked in a variety of settings. Initially as a social worker in a child health team, then within a child assessment and duty team, before she moved to The Children’s Society to set up an advocacy project for looked after children. This experience and insight into the practices within some children’s homes in the early 2000’s led her to pursue a regulatory role within the Commission for Social Care Inspection (latterly NCSC and then Ofsted) where she began her inspection career with a view to raising standard within children’s services – she specialised in the regulation and compliance of children’s homes and fostering services.

In 2009 she joined an independent fostering agency, becoming the Registered Manager and then the Managing Director and Responsible Individual. She led this agency through three Ofsted isnpections where they were rated Outstanding in all areas. While in this role Sophie was also instrumental in the development and growth of it’s Therapeutic Fostering Service – delivering exceptional practice and outcomes for traumatised children.

Sophie has previously been a panel chair for Newham Local Authority as well as undertaking the ADM role for her previous agency. More recently, Sophie has set up her own consultancy business to support others in delivering excellent services to children.

Danni Starley

Registered Manager

Qualifications:

  • Diploma in Social Work
  • BA (hons) Specialist Practice in Social Care
  • Practice Educators Award
  • City and Guilds Level 5, Leadership and Management in Care Services
  • Achieving Best Evidence (ABE video interview Level 3)
  • NVQ 3 Children and young people
  • Foundation Degree in Therapeutic Child Care

About Danni

Danni completed her Early Years training in 1993 but quickly moved into the Social Care sector. She worked in a specialist therapeutic residential provision for children and young people with severe emotional damage as a result of childhood trauma and abuse.

Danni has experience of working for a Local Authority undertaking Child Protection enquiries whilst working jointly with specialist police officers to conduct Achieving Best Evidence video interviews. She has also worked for Cafcass as a Family Court Advisor/Guardian carrying out assessments of the child’s needs and presenting these both in writing and verbally to the court.

Danni’s role

Danni has a wealth of knowledge and experience of working with children and young people who have suffered trauma. She combines her experience of safeguarding and therapeutic interventions to ensure solid social work practice with a strong focus on good outcomes for children.

What makes Danni passionate?

“It’s all about promoting the family experiences of children in care, and positively affecting their later life chances. By tapping into the talents and creativity of children they can then use these skills to heal their own trauma. I really believe in advocating for young people to ensure they are receiving the services they need to really develop to their full potential.”

“Taking all the hope and optimism of newly approved carers and supporting their development into skilled and knowledgeable carers.”

“Contributing to the ethos within FosterCare UK whereby children are supported to learn to ‘risk assess for themselves, rather than by providing lives which are ‘risk adverse’.”

Sue Bartholomew

Kent Centre Manager

Qualifications:

  • BA (hons) Religion Studies, Kent University
  • Msc Social Work, Canterbury Christ Church University

About Sue

Prior to her role at FosterCare UK Sue worked for the Local Authority for seven years within the Children’s Department. She originally worked as a Social Work Assistant before receiving funding to pursue her Masters in Social Work. She then dedicated a large amount of time to social work for various Local Authorities. She describes her move to FosterCare UK as ‘natural’, with the company’s ethos and child-centred philosophy very much in line with her own.

Sue’s role

Sue provides a crucial and invaluable link between the Social Worker and Managers, as well as supervising and supporting the Social Workers and Foster Carers.

Away from the office Sue remains children-focussed, as she dedicates her much of her own time to the Girl Guides.

What makes Sue passionate?

“Looked after children get a raw deal, so if you’re giving something back and making just that little difference, it’s fantastic. There are certainly a lot of battles in my job, but one win makes it all worthwhile.”

Teresa Scott (MA.Hons)

Senior Practitioner

Qualifications:

Dip. Supporting Young People with Autistic Spectrum, Disorder, Christ Church University Canterbury 2007, BA [Hons. 1st class] Social Work, University of Kent 2011, Achieving Best Evidence, Kent County Council and Kent Police 2012, MA [Distinction] Advanced Child Protection, University of Kent 2015, Fostering Changes, Kings College London 2016

About Teresa

Teresa started her career in the leisure industry, working in the deprived area of the Isle of Dogs in the Docklands, East London and focusing on youth engagement in sport long before sustainability and the legacy of an Olympic Games in the area was dreamt of.

Teresa then returned to Kent and spent 6 years as a Teaching Assistant for children with learning difficulties, working specifically with children who had social and communication difficulties and a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

Teresa graduated from the University of Kent with a BA (Hons) in Social Work and joined the local authority as a Child Protection Social Worker where she worked directly with families in the court arena and young people entering foster care.

She has the national qualification to work with victims of abuse, also in conducting Achieving Best Evidence Interviews (video interviewing) with the police. Teresa has worked for Foster Care UK for the past three years as Supervising Social Worker and is pleased to be continuing to work directly with foster carers and young people in her new role as Senior Practitioner.

She is passionate about direct work with children and young people and working in a way which will support and enable them to develop positive identities from often challenging and difficult beginnings. Teresa has a particular interest in Life Story Work and advocates for its importance in helping young people to understand their journey and previous experiences. Teresa recently completed a Masters Degree her research dissertation on young people who exhibit harmful sexualised behaviour. Teresa enjoys supporting foster carers in achieving the best outcomes for their young people and in facilitating their professional development through nationally recognised trainings such as ‘Fostering Changes’. Teresa values and advocates for the importance of working closely with multi agency colleagues for the benefit of the service’s young people.

Teresa considers reflective supervision to be the bedrock of good social work practice and is looking forward to developing this area in her new role as Senior Practitioner. She is Foster Care UK’s Champion in the area of Health for young people in care, and has a particular interest in child and adolescent mental health.

Foster Care in London, Kent and Herts

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