Fostering Agency in Kent, London and Thames Valley
Hello and WELCOME. We are an independent fostering agency in Kent founded in 1988 by my parents Maureen and Alb Ward following their own experiences of foster parenting children and young people. The company was set up originally to provide support to young people who were preparing to leave the care system and develop independence.
Next Step witnessed the era of care leavers being as young as fourteen or fifteen having to leave a system often with very little ongoing support and at great risk of remaining vulnerable. We recognised that we needed committed and passionate parents who could open their homes and their hearts and ‘be there’ for a child who had lost their own family. I have through my experiences of being in a fostering family grown a unique insight into fostering which I believe illustrates both the plight of the child who comes to live with your family as well as the adaptions fostering families need to make to allow for this to be successful for all.
I began working at Next Step at the very beginning, collecting both social work and business qualifications along the way and remain as passionate today about ensuring we as an organisation embrace the philosophy of wanting the best – for all children, whilst promoting the role of the foster carer as a dedicated and highly regarded fellow professional. I am proud that our company has the blend of ‘family feel’ with an excellent, kind and clever staff team.
– Lesley Ward – Director.
At Next Step we recognise that the role of a parent is a complex and rewarding one. Becoming a foster parent introduces more dilemmas and opportunities which we are skilled in identifying with you and ensuring you receive excellent support and training. Click HERE to read about our latest news and upcoming open days & events.