Meet Our Team

Our friendly team of experts train and supervise our Foster Parents, and provide guidance and support to our foster families. Our people at Flourish Fostering have the high level business skills to match the very high standards of our organisation.

Over 200 Years Combined Experience

Yes, we’ve racked up more than two centuries! Our original founders of Flourish Fostering have accumulated an impeccable heritage in fostering, social work, professional therapeutic disciplines and specialist childcare services. In addition, we have over 17 years working together as a team in building, developing and running therapeutic fostering services at the highest level. If you foster for the independent sector you need to know that the people managing and governing your service have proven business acumen – at Flourish Fostering we have the high level business skills to match the very high standards of our practice. Imagine how impressive this knowledge base becomes with the additional experience of the thirty members of the Flourish Founders Group.

MICA DOUGLASManaging Director
A social worker and a highly regarded Psychotherapist who has worked in therapeutic fostering for over 15 years, Mica trains, supervises and supports our Foster Parents to manage the complexities of caring for children and young people who have suffered relational trauma. In 2020 Mica completed a doctorate in exploring therapeutic training and how this can elevate the skills of Foster Parents in achieving often remarkable results in fostering. Mica’s findings from that research study plays a key role in informing the therapeutic work at Flourish Fostering. Her vast experience as a Social Worker, Manager and a UKCP Registered Psychotherapist (for adults as well as for children and adolescents), gives Mica a unique combination of skills to lead Flourish Fostering.

Mica says: “The fact that I have worked as a Social Worker and as a Psychotherapist for many years has given me a unique view of fostering, and my passion is in developing interesting training courses that genuinely leave people eager for the next instalment. It’s an exciting future for everyone involved with Flourish, and we never stand still – we’re constantly researching new, innovative ways of supporting Foster Parents and children.”

KAREN HEARDRegistered Manager
A social work manager in fostering for over 12 years, Karen has also been a Foster Parent herself for nearly 25 years, providing her with invaluable experience that she can pass onto other Foster Parents. Karen has completed extensive training in therapeutic fostering and prior to working in the sector, she worked in the mental health sector and understands the resourcing difficulties facing children and young people in care who may need additional support. Karen brings warmth and humanity to the complex and challenging task that is fostering. Because of her experiences, Foster Parents know that she can completely understand their perspective whilst holding onto the child’s needs as paramount. Karen easily strikes the right balance of empathic support and professional social work values and management boundaries from a skilled therapeutic base.

Karen says: “It’s important to me that Foster Parents feel at ease from the very first moment they contact us. As well as my dedication to all the families working tirelessly with us now, I’m here to give people interested in fostering with Flourish any information they may need, along with all the necessary support when they become Foster Parents. I believe we deliver the very best service and we work as a team to continuously improve and support our Foster Parents, children and young people.”

TRACEY MEAKINGSSenior Supervising Social Worker
A Supervising Social Worker who has worked in fostering for a decade, Tracey is passionately dedicated in supporting our foster families both individually in their own homes, and in group settings when everyone comes together to share their experiences. Tracey’s training in therapeutic fostering includes over a year of study and she loves seeing children and young people develop, thrive and reach their potential due to the care, support and encouragement of their Foster Parents. Working with children for over 30 years, Tracey’s experience ranges from educational settings, children’s clubs and community initiatives; she is the ‘go-to person for planning special events and her colleagues admire her creativity and drive in making them an enjoyable way for foster families to share time together. A mum herself with two grown up children and four grandchildren, Tracey enjoys spending fun times with extended family, and loves baking cakes for charity events.

Tracey says: “I strive to achieve the highest standards in my work at Flourish, it’s important to me that the social work support function runs smoothly and competently to help ensure an environment that’s free from unnecessary stress for our Foster Parents, as this is what enables them to be the very best they can be when caring and advocating for our children and young people.”

TESSA YEATESSupervising Social Worker
Tessa has worked in the fostering sector for over decades for different fostering organisations. She supports Foster Parents to provide children and young people with the best possible outcomes in life to reach their full potential, whatever that may be, ensuring to provide guidance and information when needed. Tessa maintains engagement with new and current Foster Parents to ensure they are involved in and have a voice in matters that relate to foster care.

Tessa says: “Seeing a young person who has had a difficult start in life settle, grow and thrive in a foster family and become their own person is extremely rewarding.”

CATHERINE HARRISSupervising Social Worker
Catherine is a Supervising Social Worker, with previous therapeutic experience of working with children looked after and their fostering families with the Local Authority. She has also worked in mental health for patients detained under the Mental Health Act and in cognitive behavioural therapy research. She has a strong understanding of the complex relationship between physical health and emotional well-being, and the impact of trauma on mental and physical health and development.

Catherine says: “I am passionate about supporting and empowering Foster Parents to be the best possible carers and advocators of the children and young people placed in their care. I believe that foster parents are valued professionals and experts, in terms of their knowledge of the children they care for.”

THEA RENEESupervising Social Worker
Thea joined Flourish Fostering in 2021 as a Supervising Social Worker. She provides support and guidance to our Foster Parents alongside undertaking initial and Form F assessments. Thea has various child care and management qualifications including and has over 20 years experience working with children and young people which stemmed from her parents being Foster Parents when she was a teenager.

Thea says: “Seeing children and young people evolve and flourish and grow and making positive changes in their lives is why I do this.”

JULIA WEBBSupervising Social Worker
A highly experienced Supervising Social Worker with previous therapeutic expertise, Julia followed a career in fostering as her parents fostered when she was younger. Julia studied to become a social worker, a path that led to many situations where she worked with Foster Parents and children in care. Julia then specialised in therapeutic fostering as she felt strongly that having a therapeutic approach would aid children and young people to settle within a family, to be understood and to given every opportunity to reach their potential.

Julia says “Seeing a child or young person settle within a family and to accept the care, love and support available to them is very rewarding. This could take months or even years, but when I see it happen it is fantastic.”

KEVIN RYESupervising Social Worker
Having worked within the voluntary sector in community-based projects that engage individuals, Kevin is experienced in working directly with children and young people in care, and with foster families, supporting them to enhance young lives whilst building long-lasting relationships. Therapeutically trained to work with Foster Parents and a natural people-person who takes a great deal of satisfaction from offering support, guidance and motivation to people, Kevin takes great satisfaction from his role as a Student Supervising Social Worker, where his training and learning provides him with the opportunity to work alongside some amazing families and young people.

Kevin says: “I understand the importance of seeing first-hand the positive changes that come about when children and young people are given opportunities to develop and achieve, so that their self-esteem is raised and their aspirations grow, enabling them to flourish alongside their peers.”

WENDY SMITHPsychotherapist
Wendy is our Psychotherapist who works with children and provides ongoing support for Foster parents. A Foster Parent herself for 14 years, Wendy understands how worthwhile fostering is when you can change the trajectory of a child’s life and gain so much from the experience. After qualifying as a therapist, Wendy felt the natural progression to work with Foster Parents and children as she has first hand experience of what it means to live with traumatised children.

Wendy says: “I love nothing more than seeing relationships grow and deepen. Our Foster Parents are like neurosculptors – influencing the brain growth of the children they care for as they invest time and love, and nurture into these relationships – this is what makes me happy.”

JOSEY COLLINSSocial Work Assistant
Following her passion for Social Work, Josey started her career in fostering 15 years ago working in administration and referral teams. She now supports the placement of children and young people with foster families, having developed a considerable amount of expertise in this area. Josey also has experience as an Education Advisor, working alongside young people to support their educational, social and leisure needs. Ambitious in pursuit of becoming a qualified Social Worker, Josey is Flourish’s Social Work Assistant, helping the team in numerous ways including directly supporting children and young people and their Foster Parents.

Josey says: “Fostering is very close to my heart and I love my job at Flourish; it’s great to be part of, and to support, such a dedicated, hard-working and friendly team who do their absolute best to enhance children and young people’s lives.”

KRISSI THORPOffice Manager
With lots of energy and passion of working in a fast-paced, lively office environments, Krissi is usually the first person to welcome our Foster Parents and visitors to The Cedars. She enjoys being busy and strives for perfection in all she does. Krissi runs the practical aspects of Flourish and keeps thing running smoothly and on schedule; she is often the first port of call for Foster Parents and always helps with whatever is needed in a reliable, prompt, efficient and friendly manner. She enjoys being involved in children’s events and seeing young people thrive and flourish.

Krissi says “Being very family orientated and extremely close to my sisters, I have such pride in being part of the Flourish family; it’s an extraordinary place where each day brings new challenges. I feel very privileged to be part of a team bursting with talent, compassion, and dedication and who are all striving for the same goal.”

KYLIE STACEYOffice Administrator
After studying Politics, Business and Sociology at Rainham Mark Grammar School, Kylie has mostly worked within administration and customer service roles.

Creative and passionate about working with children and young people, Kylie relishes the opportunity to be a part of something so important and finds it very uplifting to see everyone working together to support children in finding happiness and stability. A lover of a good debate, Kylie interests outside work are music, fashion, travel and foreign cultures.

Kylie says: “I love working with all of the wonderful Foster Parents, children, and my colleagues here at Flourish Fostering and seeing the huge impact and difference the organisation makes to young people lives.”

KATIE SAMMONDSFinance Director
Katie has worked in the health and social care sector at senior financial level for a number of years. She worked as Head of Commercial Finance at Advanced Childcare, the largest provider of children’s residential services, fostering and education in the UK, carrying out group-wide financial analysis, budgeting and forecasting, as well as supporting on numerous acquisitions and integrations, completing investment appraisals for property acquisitions and providing commercial support regarding pricing, tenders and new service launches.

Katie says: “I thoroughly enjoy working in the children’s services sector as it gives me the opportunity as an accountant to feel like I am doing something with meaning, which many finance people don’t get the opportunity to have. I love hearing the success stories of the children in our care – even little progress steps forward – it reminds me why we do this.”

Nicola has worked in the independent fostering sector for over 25 years, most notably as an innovative and successful Managing Director. Having been both a Foster Parent and an entrepreneur, Nicola is passionate about the creation of a cutting edge and ‘stand out from the crowd’ fostering provision that truly makes a difference to Foster Parents and to children’s lives. A dedicated Therapeutic Practitioner, she trained at Family Futures Consortium and designed the highly praised ‘The Future is Orange’ course on childhood attachment.

Nicola says: “The support that the Flourish Fostering team provide means that our Foster Parents can get on with their job of looking after children and young people in their care, knowing that they are equally-valued members of the team; I’m here as a ‘hands-on’ Director, committed to ensuring that we provide our Foster Parents with a first-class experience. I am proud that at Flourish we have a warm, family feel to our work that gives everyone a sense of belonging to something good.”

IAN DA NOBREGAFinance Manager
Born in South Africa, Ian spent his childhood on the African continent, eventually living at a lion sanctuary where he helped to hand raise the lion cubs. He settled in the UK in 2002, developing his financial career in various sectors ranging from mining, property development, retail and pension funds. Ian later married and now lives on the South Coast with his husband for a slower pace of life, setting up his own finance practice from where he supports our Flourish finance team. In his spare time, Ian loves house renovations, gardening and spending lots of time on the beach with his dog as well as being a keen piano player in between volunteering at various charitable events.

Ian says: “I feel privileged to be a part of the Flourish team because it places emphasis on valuing everyone who is part of what we do and what we strive for, putting children, families and staff at the heart of everything it does.”

IAN PARKERMarketing Consultant
Ian oversees Flourish’s marketing, setting the annual strategy that inform our diverse foster family audience. With a marketing background that spans over 20 years with both private and public sector health and social care brands, Ian spearheads our communication campaigns that seek to engage and educate people about what makes a great Foster Parent, how people can apply to become a Foster Parent as well as creating materials that support their journey with Flourish Fostering.

Ian says: “It’s an honor to be a part of a committed and dedicated team where the marketing function plays such an important role in helping people understand the amazing gift of being a Foster Parent – it’s great to be part of something so special and make a difference in changing children’s lives.”

RIZ KHANDirector
Riz has almost 30 years of experience in the health & social care sector, of which 25 years have been at Board level. He has developed a reputation for building value and improving outcomes for children and young people, working alongside some of the country’s leading health and social care organisations. Passionate about supporting people to become the very best Foster Parents they can be and helping children and young people to overcome past childhood trauma by providing opportunities to help change their lives.
Riz says: “My vision is for Flourish Fostering is to become a leading specialist therapeutic fostering organisation that attracts the very best Foster Parents and delivers the very best possible care and positive outcomes for children and young people.”
Alfred has worked within the health and social care and property sectors for over three decades, where he has held board positions of various organisations, including Advanced Childcare and Cambian. He served on the Investment Board for the Children’s Services Innovation Programme that was set up by the Department for Education, creating the development of more effective ways of supporting vulnerable children. Alfred is highly committed to making the Foster Parent journey possible for people who wish to provide a safe and caring environment for young people, bringing a wealth of skills to support the Flourish Foster team.

Alfred says: “Making sure that as a Foster Parent, your experience and journey with us is the best it possibly can be is what makes Flourish stand out from our competitors – we’re a friendly, experienced team who will help and support people through each and every step to a life-changing and rewarding career in fostering.”