Lorraine Walker

Lorraine Walker

Co-Director / Responsible Individual

Hello, my name is Lorraine; I am one of the directors and the Responsible Individual of Swap Foster Care. (Swap Ltd)

I am a qualified Social Worker having qualified at the University of Coventry in 2004. Prior to Swap Foster Care I worked 5 years in frontline child protection and in a Long-term Looked After Children’s team Coventry.

As one of the directors and the Responsible Individual of Swap Foster Care my main role is to monitor the quality and performance of the agency. This is achieved in a number of ways, I and other senior managers continually monitor the performance of staff, the progress children and young people in placement, outcomes achieved and the effectiveness of matching and Placement Plans. We conduct regular consultations with children, foster carers, staff and placing Social Workers and we have through internal audits and external verification and inspection by Ofsted.

We aim to provide an outstanding service to everyone. We are extremely proud that in most of our recent inspections our offices have been rated as good or better. We put this achievement down to our professional, dedicated staff and carers who embrace our child-centred ethos.

When I’m not working at Swap I love nothing more than spending quality time with my family of 3 grown up children, my grandchildren and my 2 dogs.

Roy Walker

Roy Walker

Co Director / Agency Decision Maker

Hi. I'm Roy. I am a qualified Social Worker having graduated from Staffordshire University (Stoke on Trent campus) in July 2000 after undertaking an ‘Access’ to Higher Education at Solihull College (Chelmsley Campus).

Since qualifying as a Social Worker. I have worked for various Local Authorities: as a Social Work Practitioner, a Senior Practitioner, Team Leader, Team Manager - in busy Child Protection and Care Management Teams. I have also worked as a Deputy and Project Manager for an Independent Fostering and Residential Services provider with charitable status. Prior to my current role, I was Registered Manager of Swap Foster Care.

Before qualification, I also worked in Residential Children’s services for a large City Authority.

I am currently the ‘Agency Decision Maker’ (A.D.M.) at Swap Foster Care with responsibility for making final decisions as to the suitability of approved and applicant Foster Parents’ suitability to Foster with our agency – to become part of our Fostering family.

I am registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

In my spare time I enjoy reading, spending time with my three sons and Grandchildren and am currently reading the ‘Air Pilot’s Manual’ with a view one day of learning to fly and hopefully gaining my Private Pilots’ Licence.

I have during my career seen many examples of the difficult life circumstances children and their families find themselves in and understand the importance of having a range of suitable safe alternative families for safeguarding the welfare of some children and young people.

Whether you are an experienced Foster Parent who is unhappy with the support you currently receive looking to change your current agency or, new to fostering, we welcome your interest in being part of our Fostering family and would like to take this opportunity of wishing you every success in your fostering career with us. We can offer you every support through the skills and experience of our staff and other Foster Parents to enable you to be part of making a difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society. All the foster Parents I speak to tell me that they would not imagine doing anything else now!

Kirsti De Smet

Incumbent Registered Manager

Hello, I am Kirsti and I am the Incumbent Registered Manager at SWAP Foster Care, where I have been employed since January 2017 as a Supervising Social Worker, Deputy Registered Manager and Acting Fostering Service Manager.

I am a Qualified Social Worker who is registered with Social Work England. I have previously been employed in the social care sector as a Support Worker and as a Social Worker.

I have assisted the rehabilitation of young people accommodated in secure training facilities and taught the offender behaviour program to reduce the risk of re -offending for these young people.
I have been employed as a social care worker in children’s residential provision, supporting children and young people who are blind or partially sighted with additional complex needs. I have worked with children aged from 4 – 19 years and later in my employment was a key worker for young adults moving on to independence and supported them to transition onto adulthood.

I have supported women and children who are fleeing domestic violence and abuse and who are accommodated in refuge, I have also been a domestic violence support worker in safe and supported housing, for women, men and their children who have fled abusive relationships and are starting to rebuild their lives.

I have experience of working in a busy statutory Looked After Children’s Team, gaining knowledge and skills that have supported my professional development and Social Work career and for the role that I am employed today.

I have a BTEC Level 5 in Forensic Science and Law, BA Hons in Social Work and Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Development. I am an avid learner and ensure that I invest in my own personal and professional development. I am a Practice Educator to Stage 1 which has allowed for me to support students on placement and I am currently completing Stage 2, which will allow for me to mentor other Practice Educators and to support Social Workers who are completing the final stages of their social work degree and moving into practice.

I am very passionate about my current role as Quality Assurance Manager which allows for me to apply my knowledge and understanding to my practice; overseeing and ensuring the quality of care of the fostering agency and in supporting foster carers in their role; caring for looked after children and ensuring excellent standards of care and good practice. I keep the individual child/young person to the fore and ensure that I work with others to improve outcomes for children and young people.

Dominique Cawthorne

Senior Fostering Service Administrator

Hi, my name is Dominique and I am the Senior Administrator at SWAP Foster Care, where I have been employed since November 2019.
My background is in Accounting & Finance where I have mostly worked within the Events & Hospitality sector and Schools. I have qualifications in business and finance and am currently working towards a degree in Psychology with counselling, this along with my existing skills and knowledge enables me to provide all round support to the business and the whole SWAP team.

Paris Gilbert

Junior Administrator

Hi, my name is Paris and I am the Junior Administrator here at SWAP, where I joined the team in September 2021.
My background is in retail and alongside this I studied Business for 2 years at college at level 3 and I am now studying and working towards an AAT Foundation in Accounting.
I regularly dance at Phaze 1 Dance Academy and assist in teaching younger age groups two nights a week. I am looking forward to learning new skills and gaining administrative experience within the SWAP team.

Jessica Gregory

Jessica Robertson

Advanced Supervising Social Worker - Senior Practitioner

My name is Jessica and I am a Supervising Social Worker (Advanced) Senior Practitioner at SWAP foster care. I have worked at SWAP since May 2014 and was originally a Student social worker at SWAP.

My desire to be a social worker with children and families developed when I found my employment as a therapeutic residential care worker. I worked in a residential home for 3 1/2 years with traumatized children from the age of 11, supporting them through their struggles and difficulties from their past and into their future and I also became a key worker which had tasks to complete. This was a very enjoyable and rewarding role which I left to progress my experiences. I found a similar role in a crisis intervention centre with children and young people and worked with children on a short-term basis from the ages of 10-18. This was a very challenging role but enjoyable. It was at this point I started thinking about my future and made the decision to go to university to further my education. After a hard three years studying I achieved a BA honours in Social Work at Coventry University and as soon as I had completed my studies, I started graduate employment with SWAP foster care as a social worker.

I am very passionate about children and young people and ambitious to implement my social work values into practice and make a difference. I feel that all my experiences have equipped me with a wide range of knowledge and skill within Social care but also in working with children and young people.

Within my current role as a supervising social worker I have been able to put my knowledge and skills into practice to not only support my foster parents in performing their role in looking after the children in placement but also sharing this with my colleagues and students. I really enjoy what I do and l love being part of the team at SWAP foster care.

Natalie Blick

Advanced Supervising Social Worker - Senior Practitioner

Hello, my name is Natalie and I have been working at SWAP since October 2020.

I completed a BSc degree in Psychology, qualifying in 2010 and was unsure of what my future would entail. I have a brother with autism and learning difficulties and growing up, this has always been an area of interest for me. I began volunteering with different agencies, including the youth offending team and in an orphanage in Morocco, where I decided that working with vulnerable children was where my passion lay. I travelled abroad to America for the summer to work at a summer camp for children with disabilities, before completing my Masters in Social Work, qualifying from the University of Worcester in 2016. My university degree offered me experience working for an independent advocacy team and within CAFCASS, where I developed skills within the court arena, writing reports and giving evidence.

Once qualified, I began my career within a Child Protection Team for a Local Authority and then moved to work for an independent parenting assessment centre, where I became a trained PAMS assessor. I enjoyed completing the detailed assessments of individuals and exploring how their life history and experiences can impact their capabilities as a parent. I am a big advocate for positive change, empowerment and learning. However unfortunately, it is not always deemed in the best interests for a child to remain within their family unit and so the need for nurturing, stable foster carers is paramount for many.

My appetite for learning and broadening my knowledge moved to the fostering remit and I researched SWAP, being pleased with the ‘family run’ feel and close knit supportive team. I feel very fortunate to be part of SWAP and am excited for the future.

Lisa Cottingham

Supervising Social Worker

Hi, I’m Lisa and I am one of the Supervising Social Workers here at SWAP and joined the Team in August 2021.
I am from Switzerland, that is also where I studied and qualified as Social Worker. As part of my course I had to do various internships. The first one was in a big residential home for people with disabilities where I was a support worker on a group for young adults. Even though I loved this work, I wanted to use my course to gain insight to other areas of Social Work and decided to do an internship in a rehabilitation centre. There I had various roles and tasks, ranging from supervising participants in the kitchen to being assigned key worker tasks and organising day trips and trainings. As my last internship was just before finishing my degree, I decided to take the opportunity to do it abroad and worked with Deafinitely Independent, a small residential home for deaf adults with additional learning disabilities in Leamington. After returning to Switzerland for a few months to complete my course, I made the decision to come back to the UK. I first continued working with Deafinitely Independent and then became a support worker with People in Action, a big charity supporting people with disabilities. For various reasons I decided to look more into becoming a Social Worker and registering with Social Work England. I have always loved working with children, in fact I started teachers training and was a leader in a local Scouts group for years. In addition, I am really fascinated by how our family shapes and influences us as a person. Therefore, fostering has been something that has interested me for a while. So, when all the paperwork was completed and I heard of SWAP, applying was really a no brainer as it seemed a great job for me.
I am excited to settle into my new role and see how I can best use my insights and experiences in different fields of Social Work and the Social System in Switzerland to support the foster families here at SWAP.

Emmanuel Chatawe

Supervising Social Worker (ASYE)

Hello,
My name is Emmanuel. I was born and raised in Tanzania, and I have been a resident of the United Kingdom since 2003. I joined Swap Foster Care as a supervising social worker in October 2021. In August 2021, I completed my master's degree in social work at Coventry University, where I developed my professional knowledge and skills in social work practice.
In the course of my social work studies at Coventry University, I was given a chance to complete a practice placement at Swap Foster Care. It was during my placement experience at Swap that I gained an understanding of fostering services and the role of supervising social worker. I am delighted to have been given a chance to re-join the Swap team as a staff member.
Earlier in my personal development, I studied pastoral counselling at Trinity College in the United States and pursued a BA in social studies and counselling at the University of Warwick. I worked in pastoral care for various faith-based organisations for more than ten years, and I loved my work in this capacity. In addition, I have experience working in social services, mainly in domiciliary care. During my time in domiciliary care, I became interested in pursuing a degree in social work.
My life experience has taught me to respect and cherish each individual. I am convinced that everyone can grow and accomplish their objectives and ambitions with the right supportive environment and opportunity. I desire to utilise every chance here at Swap Foster Care to support individuals in leading dignified lives and realising their full potential.

Kelly Gray

Social Work Assistant

Hi, my name is Kelly and I have been working as a Social Work Assistant here at Swap since February 2022.
I am currently finishing my degree and hope to be a qualified Social Worker having graduated from the University of Coventry later this year, 2022. I began my journey with SWAP in 2021 as a student and decided to stay on after enjoying the role thoroughly. Whilst at university I completed my first placement in a social work role within the Looked After Children’s Team for the local authority, here I learnt a lot about the fostering role and the experiences of children within the looked after system.
Prior to working with SWAP, I spent many years caring for my family. I have children with autistic spectrum condition, and they required my full support at home. Now that my children are settled, and my husband is retired we can swap roles so that I can return to the world of work.
I have spent time in my younger years as a registered childminder and have volunteered as a teaching assistant for primary age children. This alongside my lived experience sparked a passion for learning about mental health, learning disabilities and the impact of structure on families. As a mother I always felt oppressed within professional’s meetings and voiceless, this is when my first thoughts of becoming a Social Worker first developed as I decided I wanted to help others to have a voice and feel included.
I had experience of social care involvement from the disabilities team for my own children and I was involved in professional’s meetings and care planning for my children. I developed a passion for being there for others and decided to commence an access to higher education course which led to the social work degree.
I am honoured that I was able to secure a role with SWAP as I feel that there is great team spirit, encouragement, and support within the team.
When I’m not working at SWAP I enjoy spending time with my six children, grandchildren, and walking with my dogs. I am an avid photographer and love to be outside, especially near the seaside.