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Meet The Fostering Panel – Liam

All UK foster carers must be approved by a fostering panel before they can start their fostering career. At Focus Foster Care, we are lucky to have a panel made up of experienced and supportive individuals. If you are on your journey to becoming a foster carer with us, the ‘Meet The Panel’ blog series is just for you.

In this interview series, we are giving all applicants (potential and current) the opportunity to get to know the people who make up our fostering panel. Today, we are introducing you to Liam…

Meet The Fostering Panel

Name: Liam

Occupation: I have been a social worker for almost 20 years, I have worked in child protection, early intervention services with Sure Start, I then moved into fostering and have worked in IFA’s like Focus and Local Authority fostering teams as a Supervising Social Worker, panel advisor and assessment manager, Local authority deputy team manager and acting team manager.

I have been a self-employed social worker for almost seven years, I undertake foster carers annual reviews as an IRO, independent complaints and assessments, I work for Foster Talk supporting carers going through allegations or practice concerns, I also sit on other foster panels as a member, vice chair and chair. I am an independent panel member for the IRM, Agency Decision Maker for an IFA and I am a recently appointed Justice of the Peace in the family court.

How long have you been on the Focus Foster Care panel?: I have been sitting on the Focus panel since May 2018 initially as an independent panel member and then as the Vice Chair.

What do you enjoy about working for Focus Foster Care?: I like the friendly family feel to the agency, I have previously worked with the Agency Decision Maker, Kevin Reynolds, in a residential setting for children and later in my career in an IFA, I wanted to be part of a grass roots growing agency, and be able to offer support and advice based on my previous and current experiences, to aid the development of the agency as and when required.

What is one important thing that you have learnt about fostering since you joined Focus Foster Care?: What I enjoy about being part of a fostering panel is down to the diversity of the other members, I am a social worker and approach panel work with this hat on, someone from a different background and with different work experiences brings this to the role, I am often surprised by others thoughts having read the paperwork from a non-social work perspective and the questions they ask, especially when I feel I have missed it, this is something I have come to accept over the years that I have been involved with foster panels, and enjoy the debates that can occur before, during and after a panel.

What are your hobbies and interests?: I spend most of my life driving my two boys to their hobbies and interests, which include basketball and hockey matches, I am the team manager for the basketball team so only have myself to blame for this. When I do get some occasional free time, I enjoy wandering around with my camera capturing the world around me, or trying to! One of my favourite haunts is Chester Zoo, where I seem to spend hours waiting for the tigers to come out while getting rained on, or sat on a beach or hill/mountain at sunrise or sundown watching the sky getting painted in light and textures.

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Alongside our panel member post, we also have Meet The Team blog series. If you are interested in fostering with us, read our team interviews to get to know the hard-working individuals who make our independent fostering agency a success.

Want to get to know the rest of our team? Follow the links below to read our other posts in the Meet The Team series:

Meet the team – Fiona, social worker

Meet the team – Emma, registered manager

Meet the team – Honey, the office dog

Meet the team – Jess, office administrator

Meet the team – Jenna, Supervising Social Worker