Our Aim

The long and short of it is that we want to provide good, stable, local homes for children in Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire who can’t live with their own parents.

We can do this because we know the children well, we know the carers well and we can therefore match carer and child in a way few other agencies can, giving the placement every chance for success.

We know that our carers do an incredible job and we strive to support them in every way we can, often going above and beyond the norm. (See “What’s so special about us?” for more details.)

We really welcome our carers into the team and we reckon our family-like approach is the best way to make a difference.

About the Team

Like any family, we’re a hotchpotch but all united in one thing: our passion for the children and carers we place them with.

Eleanor Vanner

Eleanor is a one off! Famously set on a course for social work after being asked to leave school for “not really fitting the mould”, she quickly knew she wanted to focus on work with children and families. With over 20 years’ experience in this area and a desire to see children living happy, settled lives, Eleanor represents the real heart of EFS.

Sarah Grimwade

Anyone who’s worked in a team will know the value of someone with over 25 years’ experience in administration and Customer Services. Sarah, with her organisational skills and dedication to the children and carers EFS look after is worth her weight in gold and our carers will tell you the same themselves.

Sandra Wood

Sandra is our Senior Supervising Social Worker. With over 15 years’ experience working with children in residential care and foster carers, she’s a highly valued source of wisdom and support to our carers. Having coached ladies’ football for 4 years, these days Sandra prefers to watch from the stands and is a keen supporter of Ipswich Town. Oh well, nobody’s perfect.

Lucy Stevens

Lucy’s experience lies in working with small companies and helping them grow. Lucy became involved at EFS as a Panel Member and then started working directly with some of the children offering storymaking sessions (she is also a part-time writer.) Nowadays,you’ll also find her with her sleeves rolled up, tirelessly devising new ways to attract carers to the EFS family.

Samuel Perryman

There must be something about EFS that attracts the extreme sportsperson! Samuel loves climbing and adrenaline sports. His calm, unflappability has set him in good stead over the last 10 years working with children and adults with autism. Newly qualified, he now supports foster carers and their families as a supervising social worker, an area in which his passion for helping children is very evident.

Jo Elliot

Jo is our newest member of the team. She’s in her element dicing with danger doing extreme sports. But when she’s not throwing herself out of planes, she puts all her passion into improving the lives of children. To this end, during her career in social work, she has built up 10 years’ experience of working with children, young people and families. Jo is based in Cambridgeshire where she recruits, assesses and supports foster carers.

Penny Reynolds

Penny is our Finance Manager and has been working in fostering since 2013. As a teen, she was  interested in Psychology and Social Care and this continued into adulthood when she left a full time position in an accounts department to start studying Psychology, with the view to start a career in mental health for young people. It soon became clear that Penny understood working with numbers better than the human brain and decided to continue working in finance but applying her accounting experience in a more meaningful field: foster care.
Despite being somewhat behind the scenes she takes pride in her work to ensure our young people, carers and staff team all feel supported.

Meet The Panel

These are the guys who have the final say once your application is complete. Don’t worry, they’re a good bunch. And here they are:

Corrie – Chair Person – Local Authority Manager

David – Vice Chair – Retired senior lecturer in social psychology

Trisha – Child and Family Social Worker

Dee – Retired EFS social worker

Nigel – Retired HR Director and consultant

Jill – Independent, social worker

Jane – Foster Carer

Netta – Retired social worker

Nicki – Social Worker

Stef – Child and Family Social Worker

Len – Child and Family Social Worker

Sam – EFS Social Worker