Meet the Team: Kelly Headen, Head of Fostering and Supported Lodgings

The latest in our Meet the Team series is Kelly Headen, Head of Fostering and Supported Lodgings. We interviewed Kelly to find out more about her and her passion for supporting young people.

When did you start working at Step by Step?

I will have been working here for 12 years this June. Over the course of my time here I’ve worked in every single support service. I started in accommodation, then moved to training, then to various wraparound services, then Supported Lodgings, and now our extremely exciting new venture of fostering.

Tell us a little bit about your current role here…

I am the Head of Fostering and Supported Lodgings, and part of the Step by Step Leadership Team supporting the development and progression of the charity. My role ensures that our strategy meets the needs of the young people using our services. I’m also the Responsible Individual for the Ofsted registration of Step by Step Fostering and the Nominated Individual for the registration of Supported Lodgings. My role involves a lot of listening to others and establishing ways to improve how we deliver our services.

What were you doing before you came to Step by Step?

I originally studied at the Winchester School of Art and worked in a nursing home as a carer alongside my studies. After University, I continued to work in the care and charity sector, supporting different vulnerable groups and running community art and activity sessions. Then after travelling around Australia, I returned to the UK and worked for another charity supporting recently discharged forensic mental health patients.

What inspires you to work in the area you do?

Both of my parents worked for the NHS so I’ve always understood that world, and my first job as a carer inspired me to continue working in areas where I could support other people. I have always been passionate about helping people that are facing adversity due to the set of circumstances they are in.

I also have personal experience with fostering and adoption within my close family.

What’s the best thing about working for Step by Step?

It’s like an extended family to me. I live and breathe what the charity believes in. It’s amazing to be able to connect with a young person for a short amount of time and see the progress they’ve made and watch them build positive relationships in the future, mirroring what they’ve often experienced for the first time at Step by Step.

What’s the most challenging thing?

The fact that we’re not always able to help everybody, whether that’s because of challenges in the wider housing sector or that the young people just weren’t ready to accept our support while in the service.

That’s why I’m really pleased that with Step by Step Fostering we are now able to help younger siblings who wouldn’t previously have been able to access Step by Step’s accommodation services as they’re too young.

What would you say are some of the biggest misconceptions about fostering?

I think that sometimes people focus too much on the impact it will have on their current lifestyle without considering how much fostering a child could enrich their life.

Outside of work, how do you spend your time?

I’m a Brown Owl for a local Brownies group. It takes up a lot my time but is often my favourite part of the week – good fun! I enjoy singing with my choir and love theatre. Also, having originally studied fine art, I still really enjoy putting my artistic skills to use by taking on lots of arts and crafts projects – I’m currently practicing wet felting.

What might people be surprised to find out about you?

I have a twin brother!

What does the purple heart mean to you?

Someone who has a purple heart will give everything they have in them to deliver the best possible service, care and support they can to young people, and tailor it to their individual needs.


Whether you’re interested in starting your foster care journey today, or simply want to learn more, Kelly and the rest of our lovely team are here to help.

Contact us here today.