Meet the Team
The Capstone team in London and the South East is led by Steve Blackwood and Olwyn Skinner. When you enquire about fostering the first person you will speak to is Fiona, Kandice or Broden.
My name is Steve Blackwood and I am the Regional Director at Capstone Foster Care (South East). I have been with Capstone since February 2018 and have enjoyed every minute. We have a fantastic group of foster carers and staff that work tirelessly to ensure the children and young people placed have a positive experience whilst being cared for. We aim to provide a high level, quality service and our team aim to ensure that they are working in partnership with all those involved in the lives of the children and young people. I have been passionate about fostering and ensuring children and young people have positive outcomes having worked within the fostering sector for over 30 years. Of these, 12 years were with local authorities and the last 21 years in the independent fostering sector. I have been a fostering panel member, chair of various committees and involved in developing services for foster carers, children and young people. I am a qualified a social worker. My desire to provide positive outcomes for children and young people has also led to me to working in other parts of the UK, including Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and as far afield as North America where I set up a North American Fostering Agency.
Outside of work I enjoy leisure activities, travel and spending time with my family.
My name is Olwyn Skinner and I am the Registered Manager for Capstone Foster Care (South East). I have over 13 years’ experience working with foster carers, children and young people. I am passionate about supporting carers, enabling them to give the best possible experience to the children and young people in their care and helping them achieve great outcomes. What I love about our region is that it is always growing and being enriched with a wealth of new experience.
Personally, I enjoy cooking and spending time with my grandchildren. I hope to see you all at training and support groups.
My name is Sandy Birha, and I am the Practice Manager for Capstone South East. I started working with Capstone Foster Care in 2009 before joining the team in Dartford as a Supervising Social Worker in 2011. Prior to working for Capstone Foster Care, I worked in several Local Authorities within Child Protection teams, predominantly in the Midlands and Staffordshire. I am very passionate about working with children and young people, ensuring that they are supported to achieve positive outcomes. I really enjoy working with the staff in Capstone who are just as passionate as I am about our children and young people, and our amazing foster carers.
Outside of work I love spending time with my daughter and travelling as often as I can.
Hi, I am Karen Alemao and I am the Team Manager based at our East London office. I have been working with Capstone for over 10 years now but have worked in Fostering since 2005. I enjoy working with foster carers and, children and young people and always go the “extra mile” to support them very closely. I am passionate about fostering and delivering high quality support to carers and children. Working with foster carers and witnessing the amazing difference made to children and young people’s lives has been an absolute privilege throughout my career.
I enjoy time with my family, reading and traveling.
My name is Rebecca Gill and I am the Assistant Team Manager based at our East London office. I enjoy working with children and young people, and value their futures. I bring my positive attitude and my Social Work skills and experience to bring change and positive outcomes for the children we serve as well as support our dedicated foster carers. I am very happy to be part of the Capstone team who share this ethos.
On a personal level, I am an avid musician and enjoy playing and listening to an eclectic range of music. I have been a student of the Royal Schools of Music and play the piano, recorders and clarinet with some proficiency. Other interests include world travel, theatre and socialising with my family and friends.
Hello, I’m Meenakshi Kumar, also known as Meena. I am the Team Manager for our West London office and have worked with Capstone since 2018. I have worked with various London Council Children and Family departments and my social work area of expertise are derived from working within Fostering, Adoption, Child in Need, Child Protection and Unaccompanied Minors teams. I have a Master’s in Social Work, I am a qualified school teacher and since 2010, I have been a Practice Educator in Social Work. I am passionate about my work and supporting carers to enable them to provide the best possible experience to the children and young people in their care and to achieve positive, fruitful outcomes. My values in life are based upon hard work, commitment, sincerity and dedication.
I am a public speaker, enjoy dancing Kathak (Indian classical dance form), I run a theatre group which focuses on social causes and I organise social and cultural events for the Asian community. I love watching tv, classical music, cooking and spending time with family and friends.
Hi, I am Lorraine Simpson and I am the Team Manager (Acting) for Capstone Foster Care (South East) based at our Dartford Office. I have worked with Capstone since 2018 and have been a qualified social worker since 2005. My experience includes, working with substance misuse and working with families in the community, specifically dealing with offending behaviour. I am really enjoying my role and can’t wait to continue building my relationships with our carers, children, young people and teams.
I enjoy spending time with family and friends.
Hi, I am Kieron Leonard and I joined Capstone in 2016. I’m the Senior Placements Officer, so it’s my job to manage the referrals that we receive and try and match them to available carers. I enjoy interacting with the team and the Foster Carers that we have. Every carer is different and that makes my job more enjoyable, being able to converse with a diverse group of people. The best part of my job however is knowing that I’m helping provide a safe and secure home for young people at need. Job satisfaction doesn’t get much better than that.
Hi, my name is Nicola, I joined Capstone Foster Care in 2018. My role as the Placement Co-ordinator is to manage the referrals that we receive alongside my colleague Kieron and make well matched Placements for children who come into care for various reasons such as abuse and neglect with our Foster Carers. I thoroughly enjoy my job and working with the team as it gives me great satisfaction to know we are helping children in need to have better and brighter futures. Before joining Capstone, I gained 2 years Placement Co-ordinator experience working in another IFA and this is where I discovered my passion for working in this role!
In my spare time I enjoy travelling, reading, cooking, walking and spending quality time with family and friends.
Hi, I’m Fiona Persich! I joined Capstone Foster Care in February 2015 and I’m a Recruitment Co-ordinator for the South East region. When you make an enquiry about fostering, I am usually the first person you will speak to. I will answer all of the questions you have about fostering and help you to reach a decision about whether fostering is right for you. I’m here to support you right through the assessment process until you are approved as a foster carer!
My name is Kandice Johnson and I am happy to be a part of the Capstone Foster Care South East Team. I am a Recruitment Coordinator and I am keen to meet prospective foster carers that are eager to support children and young people that are deserving of a supportive home. I received my Bachelor of Social Work in Canada. My work history includes working alongside Care Leavers in East London and youth experiencing homelessness in Canada.
If you are interested in becoming a foster carer and want to learn more about our fostering services, please feel free to contact me.
Hi everyone, I’m Broden Ajgarni and I am the Recruitment and Marketing Coordinator for your area. I have worked with Capstone since 2017 and my role is to help raise awareness about the need for foster carers in as many ways possible, whether that be through an advertising, being out there in the community answering questions, or getting wonderful stories from our foster carers to share with you all.
I love my role because not only do I get to spark that initial thought about fostering in someone’s mind, but I also get to spend time with our foster carers once they are approved to hear all about their journey.
I’m Lara Gray and I am the Children and Young People’s Champion for our Dartford Office. My work life has centered on working with adults and children from different backgrounds, in many different settings. I am passionate about supporting children and young people to have a voice during their journey in care, which is what I most enjoy about my job. My aim is to be available, approachable and someone that young people find easy and comfortable to talk to and share their thoughts with.
Aside from more specialist one to one work, I’m often organising workshops and activities to give me a chance to meet all our children and young people, to share my plans for helping and supporting them. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to hear what they want from me.
I love spending time with my family and friends and encouraging my two daughters with all their various hobbies and interests. I love fashion, music, travel and extreme sports like paragliding and motor sport!
I’m Lisa and I am based in our West London office. Within my Children and Young Peoples Champion role I work with children and young people whose foster carers are linked to the West London office. I provide one-to one- support sessions, some on a regular basis and others as and when required. Other young people I have met regularly during our school holiday activities, where they have provided feedback and developed our Capstone Welcome Pack, their Newsletter and planned future activities.
My other role as an Education Champion covers the whole SE Region, I monitor the attainment and attendance of our young people that attend school/college. I also like to celebrate the successes of our children and young people and will send out an achievement certificate to acknowledge any achievement, whether personal or educational.
I enjoy the variety of my roles and feel incredibly privileged to work with these children and young people.
Our Panel Team
Our Admin Team
Our Social Work Teams
East London Team
West London Team
Our Independent Reviewing Officer