Leona McKenzie has 15 years' experience of working in the Children’s Social Care sector across statutory, private and voluntary organisations. Her career has primarily consisted of management roles within various services for children, young people and families (including intervention for women/children fleeing domestic abuse, community-based parenting assessments, supervised child contact, respite/short breaks for young carers, inclusive activities/advocacy for disabled children,‘early help’/intensive family support & fostering).
Leona was last employed as a Quality Assurance & Safeguarding Manager, with an Independent Fostering Agency, before transitioning to self-employment in 2018. The overall aim of this role was to ensure that ‘looked after’ children and/or young people were provided with outstanding family placements and related support services. She was responsible for the oversight of three regions, and assisted them to fulfil the expectations of the Fostering Service Regulations (2011) and National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services, by offering guidance to Registered Managers' and sharing best practice/s with Supervising Social Workers'.
Leona worked in the education sector for several years, during her time as a practitioner, and prior to her progression to management. She gained experience in several roles (which were based in schools, pupil referral units & other alternative education provisions) and specialised in improving student engagement in learning, raising standards of achievement and widening participation.
Leona is highly skilled in service provision, operational leadership, team performance and quality assurance activities (including auditing, training or workshop delivery, devising practice guidance, updating policies/procedures & compiling analytical reports). She also has extensive knowledge of the legislative and regulatory requirements, within Children’s Social Care, in order to ensure ‘Ofsted readiness’. Leona has a Certificate of Higher Education in Leadership Skills and Level 4 Professional Award in Work with Parents for Managers (Intense Support for Families with Multiple & Complex Needs).
Leona is now a Panel Chair for two Independent Fostering Agencies and a Local Authority. She also investigates Stage 2 Children’s Social Care Complaints and/or chairs Stage 3 Children’s Social Care Complaint Review Panels for three Local Authorities. She provides independent support, advice, mediation and advocacy to foster carers who are subject to a complaint, concern or allegation on behalf of a fostering charity too.