Alison Kindred-Byrne, Director of Quality and Development of To the Moon and Back Fostering
Alison moved from accountancy into social work after nursing her mother through cancer. The experience made her think about the direction her own life was taking. “I started volunteering while I grieved for her and thought about what I wanted to do with my life,” said Alison.
She became involved in befriending adults with mental health problems, who were moving into supported accommodation, and helping at a day centre for adults with dementia. Then, an inspirational tutor sent her to work within a Family Service Unit and Alison discovered her passion: she wanted to work with children and families.
She since has worked in a wide variety of roles, including in a therapeutic residential children’s home working directly with children aged five to 11 who had been in multiple foster placements. As an independent social worker she has carried out assessments for prospective foster carers, kinship care (for family members of children who have gone into care), investigations of foster carers, and assessments of special guardians for the courts.
Whilst freelancing, Alison had a successful parenting coaching practice based in Kent; families referred themselves or were sent through schools, health and social care services. Alison provided ‘hands-on’ parenting techniques to parents, including supporting parents to develop and implement behavioural programs (like Supernanny) with children seen as out of control. She also supported parents who had lost confidence in their own abilities and worked with children experiencing emotional challenges.
Alison has also developed bespoke training for fostering organisations and created online training courses for foster carers specialising in children with disabilities, and for foster carers facing allegations.
She has also run parenting classes for mothers experiencing domestic violence; worked in a local authority Children and Families Duty team and worked in fostering agencies. It was during one of Alison’s secondments to a fostering agency in Essex that she first met Angela. Alison is recently married to her long-term partner of twelve years, she has two children aged five and nine.