Passionate about making a difference for children in care & care leavers. Positive Partnerships are powerful!

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Some years ago I began to realise that the way local authorities commissioned placements in foster care and children’s homes varied enormously across the country. Local Authorities were structured differently, they had different placement procedures, varying policies on matching and decision making. Some local authorities had created framework contracts, others used dynamic purchasing systems. Some worked in partnership with local authorities in consortia and some worked alone. Some used emails for referrals, some used matching platforms. The landscape was constantly changing and I became aware that both providers and local authorities were spending vast amounts of time simply trying to keep track of who did what, where, how and why!  I ended up spending many voluntary hours providing information to people across the sector. Realising the demand for this type of information, I set up CICADA, which actually stands for Children In Care Arrangements Database, rather than the rather vocal tropical persistent creature!

The idea of setting up the database was short-lived. Mainly because I started to realise it would require a great deal of time having to learn about complicated technology stuff, but also because I was being asked to support and advise local authorities and providers with a variety of commissioning projects. I do still have a good knowledge of commissioning arrangements across the country which is helpful to inform the varied work that I do.

I’ve been in the social care sector for over twenty years and in that time I’ve worked with some amazing people. I’m proud to have a wide and wonderful network of inspirational colleagues who make a positive difference for children in care every day. The most important thing I have learnt about my journey so far?  We meet children’s needs best by listening to them, by working in partnership with each other and by seeing the good in everyone.