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The Next Step Fostering Group is guided by a Group Management Team (GMT) who’s role is to ensure that the organisation recruits the highest calibre of Foster Carers and supports them professionally so that we can continue to help as many looked after children as possible – every day working hard towards improving outcomes for the children in our care.

Lesley Ward

Group Director
Lesley Ward, Director of Next Step, is a qualified Social Worker who holds the Executive Diploma in Business Management. She is the daughter of the founders of Next Step. Lesley has been involved with the company since 1988 and held the position of Registered Manager from 2002 to 2013. Lesley continues to lead and direct the Group, overseeing Next Step, Ryancare and Safehouses Fostering.

Registered Manager

We are currently recruiting for this role.

Mary Cattell

Senior Manager
Mary Cattell is the Senior Manager of Next Step, managing two offices and assisting in overseeing the social work team. Mary has worked for Next Step since 2001 and prior to joining us, was a Foster Carer herself for 15 years.

Daniel Lansley and Gay Williams

Group Quality Assurance Manager
Daniel Lansley is the Quality Assurance Manager overseeing contracts, business relations with Local Authorities, policies and procedures and finance. Daniel has worked for Next Step since 2003 and has over 15 years of experience within the Fostering industry.

Group HR Manager
Gay Williams is the HR Manager and works with the Senior Management Team across the group. Gay is responsible for safer recruitment of all staff and oversees all personnel issues. Gay comes from an HR background and has a wealth of knowledge in working with people. Gay holds a Masters Degree in Business and Management has worked for Next Step since 2010.

The Social Worker and Administrator Team
We have a dedicated staff team of Social Workers and Administrators across the South East of England to work along side our Foster Carers to support them in helping children and young people. In fact, our Social Worker team has a combined knowledge of hundreds of years, ensuring all our Carers are supported by the best people in their area. Our Team are always on hand to ensure our Carers get the very best training, support, advice and sometimes just a cuppa and a chat!Our Head Office (in Kent) houses a number of additional services and functions for the Group, including our:
Referrals Team
Our dedicated referrals team carefully match our looked after children with our Foster Carers – taking into account the children’s culture, behaviours and experiences as well as the skills and experience of their potential Fosters Carers.

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