The manager of Islington Council’s adoption and fostering service has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for her outstanding work in the sector.
Susanna Daus, who is also a trustee of The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity, will be awarded a British Empire Medal for services to adoption and fostering.
“It’s fantastic and I’m very flattered, but a little embarrassed, to be recognised,” said Susanna, “but this is a great way to talk about the amazing work of foster carers in Islington, and the need for more foster carers and adopters to look after our very special children and young people.
“It is amazing how children thrive and develop in good foster homes, and I think Islington people make great foster carers who really want to do the best for the young person. Still too many children and young people are fostered outside London, and we want to change that.
“There are still a lot of misconceptions out there about fostering and adoption – it doesn’t matter whether or not you have your own children, or if you own or rent your home, and we welcome people regardless of sexuality, faith or ethnicity.
“What matters is that adopters can offer stable, loving homes forever. We need people of all backgrounds to meet the needs of the child, because every child is so different and special to us.”
At any one time there are about 180 children and care leavers benefitting from Islington’s fostering service, with around 150 foster carers on the service’s books. The service also supports 52 “friends and family” foster care arrangements. Eight children were adopted last year in Islington, and 37 went into special guardianship arrangements. Islington is always looking for supported lodgings for young people and care leavers who need a bit of extra help.
Susanna, who started her career as a social worker in Merton, south London, has worked for Islington Council for 13 years and is regularly consulted by the Department for Education for advice and feedback on national policy.
She has been involved with The Fostering Network for a number of years and as a trustee has discussed adoption policy with the then Prime Minister David Cameron in 2011 and welcomed the Duchess of Cambridge to afternoon tea with 50 Islington foster carers at the centre in 2015.
On the Duchess of Cambridge’s visit, Susanna said: “What was lovely for the carers was how incredibly interested she was in listening to our foster carers tell her about the importance of fostering. She was really warm and open with everyone.”
Looking back over her career, she added: “It has been exciting and rewarding to work here in Islington, where everyone works so hard and has such commitment. It has been rewarding to see children thrive and grow with their foster carers, and to see the commitment of our foster carers to young people.”