Meet the Team: Sarah Luke, Registered Manager of Step by Step Fostering

We sat down with Sarah Luke, Step by Step Fostering’s Registered Manager to learn more about her and the wonderful work she does.

So, Sarah how long have you been working at Step by Step?

I’ve been here for 2 years this time round, but I previously worked here in several different roles for a few years starting in 2012.

Can you tell us a little bit about your role here now?

I was initially employed to set the fostering service up but then moved into the role of Registered Manager of Step by Step Fostering. The opportunity was appealing because of the ethos behind it. It felt so much bigger than just starting up a fostering agency because the funds we generate support many more young people through Step by Step the charity.

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

I worked as a social worker for Barnardo’s and ran parenting courses for parents of children with additional needs such as autism and ADHD. I also worked as a social worker for Surrey Children’s Services.

What inspired you to work in the area you do?

After a change in my personal circumstances, I decided to make a change in my career. I wanted to find a job that I was truly passionate about that would also allow me the time to support my children while they were growing up.

I was inspired by my dad who worked as a probation officer. I would meet him for lunch and he’d have a suitcase with him, full of all kinds of things to make the lives of the people he worked with easier. I remember him having a toothbrush and toothpaste to give to the child of one of the men who was on probation, as they couldn’t afford to buy those things. It made me realise that there are a lot of small ways you can help people without them realising, and in social work you get to be a voice for these people.

I went to college while working at Step by Step the first time, and then went onto achieve my degree in Social Work and a Masters in Practice Education Professional Standards.

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

The most rewarding thing is the outcomes you can achieve. It’s great to have the ability to support foster carers and looked after children. The bigger picture is inspiring. I really enjoy running Skills to Foster training and have just officially trained in Talking Teens, a course to support foster carers to understand the teenage brain.

And what’s the most challenging thing?

The amount of paperwork- but I know it needs to be done to protect the young people we work with!

What are some of the most common misconceptions about fostering?

A lot of people worry that a child will be placed with them and then they’ll be on their own when that’s not the case. Our foster carers receive constant support, can reach out to us at any time, and are provided with plenty of high-quality training every year.

Another misconception is that you have to be a certain kind of person to foster. For example, single men with no children often feel that they’re not the right candidate when they can make excellent foster carers.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

In my spare time I love swimming, especially open-water swimming when the weather is good! I also enjoy gardening when I have the time. I visit the Isle of Wight a lot as my fiancé used to work there so we have a lot of friends over there- we also go to the festival as often as we can!

What might people be surprised to find out about you?

I was born on Christmas Day!

We talk a lot about having a purple heart at Step by Step. What does the purple heart mean to you?

To me, the purple heart represents the heart of the people who work for Step by Step, who genuinely care about the young people we support. The idea stems from our CEO Debbie Moreton and the passion she has for transforming the lives of young people facing adversity. Debbie’s daughter came to her and said: “Mum, you have a true purple heart.”

 

If you are interested in fostering, Sarah and the rest of our lovely team are here to support you every step of the way.

Contact us here today.