Meet the Blue Sky Team: Millie
23 October 2023
23 October 2023
23 October 2023
Name: Millie Roxbee
Age: 27 years old
Role: Deputy Area Manager for Sussex, Surrey & Kent
Favourite genre of Music?
My favourite genre of music will probably have to be indie rock. At the moment, the band Peach Pit is at the top of my list. You may not have heard of them, but they are amazing and definitely worth a listen. They are originally from Canada but come here on tour occasionally, and I saw them in Brighton recently.
How long have you been working for Blue Sky Fostering?
I have been working for Blue Sky Fostering for around 4 and a half years now.
How did you first get involved with Blue Sky Fostering?
I had just finished my third-year placement in social work, which was in fostering already. It was never my intention to get into fostering at the beginning, as I did not know much about it and always thought I would go into child protection.
But I got into fostering during my third-year placement and loved it, so after I finished, I looked for similar roles in IFA (Independent Fostering Agency). After coming across an opening on the Blue Sky website, I was struck by the core values and all the support and training on offer, so I immediately applied and landed my role as a supervising social worker. Over time, I developed my skills and trained for the position I am in now.
Tell me more about your Role.
I have oversight over our complex packages and TLC (Therapeutically Led Care) packages in Sussex, Surrey, and Kent. These packages are for young people who, without us, would most likely be in residential care. I also supervise staff members that are heavily involved with TLC, like our individual workers, clinical practitioners, and supervising social workers.
I am based over two hubs, including Sussex and Surrey, and Kent, which are two separate teams, but we are very much one big happy team working in the South East.
What has surprised you about working for Blue Sky?
The level of support for both staff and carers was a big surprise, especially when compared to my last agency. I was really shocked by the amount and quality of training and how passionate everyone is here for the young people.
My role is, of course, very TLC-focused, but the amount of effort I see our staff and carers put into keeping all our young people in placements stable and safe is incredible. I look at what our carers and young people are able to accomplish over time, and I am left in awe at how resilient they are.
What separates Blue Sky from other fostering agencies?
We go above and beyond with our training compared to other agencies in areas such as therapeutic parenting, trauma, reflective group work, and more. Blue Sky tries to meet the needs of everyone with training offered both in person and online.
Also, the support groups attended by many of our carers are simply amazing. They really are a space where people can come together and not only talk about the good things but also be really open with each other about what they are finding challenging.
We also have a buddy system for new carers where we can pair them up with more experienced carers, which helps build confidence.
Our core values are a big aspect of what makes us so great. Everyone holds themselves very accountable to the core values, and they are part of our everyday lives. Both our staff and carers live and breathe the core values both inside and outside of work, which is great as we are role models for our young people, and these help us to set a good example and lifestyle.
What do you find the most challenging about Blue Sky?
When our young people need to access mental health services this can sometimes feel frustrating as the threshold for accessing it is very high. Also, the timescales involved are tough, with some waiting lists stretching up to three years. That can be really upsetting when you know that young person needs that therapy. Despite this, I know that a lot of our social workers and myself will keep fighting for our young people and do our best to make sure they get therapy as quickly as possible.
What has been the best aspect of working for Blue Sky?
My favourite part of Blue Sky for me is when we place a young person on our TLC package, as often we are the only ones that are able to support them in a foster placement. What is even better for me is when we have managed to place a child with foster carers for a sustained period of time. Just hearing that they are doing well at home or school and that we have started to make them feel safe makes it all worthwhile.
Just knowing that we have made a young person feel comfortable and given them a sense of belonging makes me feel like I’m doing something good. Knowing that without Blue Sky, some of our young people with high complex needs would potentially be in residential, which I believe they don't need to be, it shows that with the right support, they can be in a home and with a family, which every young person wants and deserves.
If you could change one thing about fostering, what would it be?
In my ideal world, every child who was fostered in England would have a TLC package, regardless of whether they met the threshold or not.
Every child that comes into care has their own complex needs, and most had a very difficult beginning. They all deserve the support of an individual worker, a clinical practitioner, and therapy, as we know it will mean better long-term outcomes.
I really believe all children, regardless of their past, deserve the same amazing package that TLC provides.
What do you wish other people knew about fostering and Blue Sky?
Many people, including myself, had this preconception that teenagers in foster care are really scary. Whether this is their behaviour or who they are affiliated with, But I quickly found out that this was just not true!
Although there are some cases of this happening, behind most of the teenagers we work with in care are very scared, vulnerable young people that just need to feel safe and be listened to.
I have learned since being at Blue Sky that often teenagers have come into care very late, often with traumatic backgrounds, and they have had to mask a lot of things. Sometimes they are affiliated with certain undesirable groups, but often they themselves do not want to be a part of them, and they are looking for some form of support to help them break free.
The key aspect is not giving up. Teenagers are just amazing to work with, and if I were to foster myself, I would love to foster teenagers.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
For the people that know me, it comes as no surprise, but for everyone else, I change my hair colour every other second, so going from pink one day to blue the next can be quite a shock!
People are also shocked at me being a manager at 27, which makes sense considering the average age for this sort of role. But I think my love for the role and our young people is what drove me to this position so quickly.
*TLC stands for Therapeutically Led Care. Please check our page for more information.