East Midlands

The Team

Joanne Foley

Hi, my name is Jo and I’m the Administration Supervisor for North & Midlands, encompassing East Midlands, West Midlands and North West regions.  I manage the Administration Hub based in the Midlands, which is made up of myself and 3 Administrators. My team supports the Recruitment and Training of foster carers, along with organising and administering Panel and other administrative functions. I’ve worked in back office support/office manager roles since I was 16 and have spent the majority of that time working in children and young peoples services. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Emily Blakeley

Hi, my name is Emily and I’m the Regional Administrator for East and West Midlands. I am based at the Administration hub in the Midlands. Our team supports the Recruitment and Training of foster carers, along with organising and administering Panel and other administrative functions. I’ve worked in administration roles since I was 17, in 2009 I took 3 years out of full time work to carry out my BA Honours Degree in Criminology & Criminal Justice. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, visiting new places and going to the gym.

Kerry Tipper

Hi, my name is Kerry. I have worked for Fusion Fostering since July 2016. I am one of the Regional Administrators for East and West Midlands. I lead on recruitment, stage one checks and also I attend Panels as a Panel Administrator.

I enjoy spending time with my family and shopping in my spare time!

Vernal Cooper

I’m Vernal Cooper; a qualified Social Worker with 28 years of social work experience. My HCPC registration number is SW22958. I hold a BA Honours in Health and Social Care, Diploma in Social Work, PQ1 and PQCCA. My experience lies in working with children and their families. I began my social work career in residential childcare. Following qualification, I worked within Children and Family teams as a Senior Practitioner and have experience of child protection, duty and assessment along with long-term work.

I worked as Children’s Guardian and Children and Family Reporter (in Public and Private Law) from 1999 to January 2009. I am now an Independent Senior Social Worker for Fusion Fostering. My specialist areas of work are risk assessments, assessing parenting, fostering /adoption assessments, working with children and training. I have prepared many reports for all levels of Court within the United Kingdom. I have regularly attended courses as part of my continuing professional development including communicating with children, solution focused therapy and working with parents with learning disabilities. My ethnic background is Black British. I have operated as an Independent Social Worker for over twenty years and have undertaken assessments and been a Panel Chair/Member for Fostering and Adoption Panels for numerous Local Authorities and Independent Fostering Agencies in England.

Beth Vantilburg

I am Beth, I’ve been a social worker for 10 years. I used to live in a fostering household growing up which led to me being a social worker. I have worked in all settings both private and statutory as a child protection social worker and the in the fostering field as a fostering social worker. I went to Thailand in 2015 came home and quit my full time job to work with Fusion and I have never looked back. Fusion promote a holistic family approach which I was drawn to. The young people I work with describe me as Quote: “your not like a normal social worker, your mad and you die your hair different colours every week, I see you more than my own social worker”.

I have three children and two dogs, yes I am mad!! I love my job and get so much satisfaction from being able to spend lots of time with the young people I work with. This is part of the fusion model which I find most rewarding. The children I work with inspire me everyday and make my job so rewarding.

Tony Kalirai

I began my career in social work some twenty-eight years ago. The first five years of my experience was spent working in residential children’s homes and assessment centres. Many of the units that I worked in accommodated teenagers who were struggling at home with their parents and often the parents had, had similar experiences to their children and could no longer manage their children’s behaviour.

There were also children living in the residential units who had suffered significant neglect or abuse at the hands of their birth family. Therefore, much of my training during this period was in relation to how we would keep these young vulnerable people safe and give them opportunities so that they would be motivated to achieve better outcomes for themselves.

During this time I also worked in a secure unit for the most vulnerable children who were considered a risk to themselves as well as others.

The above motivated me to train as a child care social worker and between 1993 -1995 I completed my professional training as a child care specialist social worker. In April 1995 l joined a specialist hospital children’s team, as a social worker. The work in this team was varied from preparing CP conference reports and making applications for EPOs, ICOs completing CIN assessments/plans and many others.

At the end of 1997 an opportunity arose for me to join a fostering recruitment and assessment service. Here I undertook foster carers assessments, support and delivered training. I was also a member of the placements duty team responsible for finding fostering placements for the young people who were accommodated. l also got the opportunity to complete adoption assessments.

Towards the end of 1999 I took the opportunity to take up a post in an Adoption Recruitment and Assessment team where I completed adoption assessments, home finding , recruitment and delivered training to both adopters and professionals.

In 2001 I became the team manager and held this position until 2014. As the manager of the adoption team I developed the service and integrated the many changes from practice guidance around reports that are fit for purpose and to develop processes that could reduce timescales yet maintain the quality of practice along with implementing changes in the law and regulation of adoption. I left this post to become the Service Manager of a Voluntary Adoption agency which had a key role in the regionalization of adoption in the East Midlands.

Wanting to continue my growth in knowledge I took up the post of team manager adoption support in Nov 2015. In the short time I have spent in this team I have already had an impact upon the way in which the service is delivered. The team makes holistic assessments of the adoptive family’s needs and then looks to support these families using a therapeutic model. I have facilitated all the workers being trained in theraplay and the plan going forward is to support this with clinical supervision and further training around DDP.

Since leaving the Local Authority I have been completing, PAR assessments, Form F fostering assessment, Parenting assessment, SGO assessments and connected persons

Sarah Robertshaw

After working with vulnerable females, for a number of years, I qualified as a social worker in 2011.

As a former Looked After Child, I am passionate about the difference foster carers make to children’s lives and their futures. Having lived with my carers from being 11 years old until independence, I know only too well, the difference that commitment and consistent care makes. I enjoy working closely with the foster carers, and supporting them along their incredible journey.

Since joining Fusion in 2013, I have assessed and developed a strong team of foster carers, who have around 23 children placed with them. As our colleagues, foster carers are valued in terms of support, regular supervision and ongoing training.