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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Laird

Radical Reformers ep.72: From Homeless to CEO with Sarah Thomas

This episode is with Sarah Thomas, the Chief Executive of the Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity and membership organisation. The network provides training, support and advice to everyone involved in the fostering journey.

This episode is part of Mutual Ventures' 2024 #PrioritisingPublicServices campaign.

Sarah has an incredible and very relevant backstory, which involved going from homeless at 16 to being a Chief Executive at 40, which is incredible. Her passion for supporting vulnerable children and parents comes across strongly, along with some completely understandable frustration at how parts of the system work.

You won't find many people with as much knowledge about the UK fostering and children's social care system so we really get into how system is performing, what's going well and what some of the challenges are.

Sarah and I also unpack why the system isn't improving outcomes for children and young people, and what she thinks needs to happen to make a difference. We then move on to talk about one of the big questions troubling leaders across all public services i.e. how do you move towards prevention and away from crisis response? Especially at a time when council services don't have a lot of money. They certainly don't have much in the way of reserves. Within this context, how do you make that flip towards prevention?

We also discuss how to tackle the stigma of seeking support as a parent, and also have a detailed discussion on children's residential care and why that market isn't working. And it certainly isn't!


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