FosterTalk’s Managing Director Alan Wood has received the title, Visiting Professor from the University of Chester, in recognition of the contribution he continues to make to the understanding of the needs of children and foster carers.
Alan’s inaugural lecture as a Professor will focus upon the connection between children’s experiences of trauma and their capacity to respond to positive child centred practice whilst living in foster care.
Alan’s expertise was recognized through his authorship of a number of high profile reviews following the tragic death of children and young people. He was also an expert witness to the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in regards to concerns linked to children experiences of sexual abuse within a range of custodial institutions.
Alan grew up in the North Staffordshire Moorlands in a family of social workers and health professionals. Alan is a qualified and experienced social worker and child therapist and has worked in the arena of looked after children for the past 30 years. Alan’s specialist area of practice throughout his long career is working with foster carers and children in foster care.
Working to enable children to reach their full potential is a key driver for Alan in all of his professional experience. Alan is passionate about enabling fostering services to focus upon how the needs of children can be met through ensuring the needs of their carers are met.
His first job following university was within a large local authority children’s home. Alan moved into youth justice work, being part of one of the first multi-disciplinary youth justice service in the Midlands.
Following qualifying as a social worker in 1995, Alan became a senior social worker in a safeguarding team, and moved into therapeutic work in the private sector, working with children and young people who experienced high levels of trauma through sexual abuse.
Following a period of time working in London, Alan returned to the Midlands to manage a therapeutic service run by the NSPCC. Alan was subsequently made Director of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering and Head of Consultancy within an expert witness service and became the Managing Director at FosterTalk in May 2018.
Alan states that the greatest lessons he has learnt over the past 30 years of professional practice were during the period of time he and his partner were foster carers. Alan and his partner fostered teenagers over a 9 year period and were honoured to be recognized through receiving the national FosterTalk award of ‘Foster Carers of Distinction’ in 2015.