meet the origins team
Origins Foster Care was set up by Directors Eugene Bigley and Mieke Ryan, who both have extensive experience working with vulnerable children and foster families.
Eugene and Mieke recognise the need for a holistic and therapeutic foster service, where the foster carers and families receive a nurturing, specifically guided, supportive framework to welcome vulnerable children into their homes and grow positively, enjoying the fostering experience.
Through their years of experience in talking to Foster Families and Foster Children, working with Clinicians, sitting on Committees, working with the Courts and acting Chairperson for foster care applications – they have developed a holistic, therapeutic and nurturing framework of support for carers, that aids, enables and assists in creating a solid family framework which embraces every function of the foster family unit journey.
Head of Fostering
Mieke has been working with children in care and their foster carers since 2003. Throughout her working career her focus has been on promoting positive placements for the children she works with, through supporting foster carers, enabling and empowering them to care for and nurture the vulnerable children placed with them.
In supporting and working closely with foster carers and fostering teams, Mieke has developed placement plans and therapeutic approaches to promote attachment, resilience and emotional support for children and their carers.
Mieke holds a master’s degree in Social Work from TCD, the National Qualification in Social Work and a master’s degree in Child Art Psychotherapy from UCD. She is fully Garda Vetted, a member of the IASW and registered with CORU. Mieke has engaged in additional training in the areas of attachment, infant mental health, developmental trauma, mentalisation and reflective parenting for foster carers.
Mieke has worked as a Guardian ad Litem since September 2013 and during this time has been appointed nationwide in both the District and High Court.
Eugene, a professionally qualified social worker, for over 30 years. With experience working both in the public and independent sectors, with foster children and families. Eugene has sat on approval committees and acted as Chairperson in relation to foster care applications.
Eugene strongly believes in supporting foster carers through providing a solid framework for managing the vulnerability and distress children experience when being placed with a new family. Throughout his career, Eugene has not only been a link social worker, but managed teams who worked directly with the foster carers.
Eugene has been instrumental in developing supports for Foster Careers, helping children overcome their early childhood experiences and witnessing the difference that a positive influence makes in children’s lives.
Throughout his own career and working with excellent, well informed clinicians, he has been proud to be part of a service that clearly proves how a good and well supported family environment can achieve such fantastic outcomes for children in alternative care.
Incorporating his extensive knowledge, gained over 30 years of working with foster families, foster children and excellent clinicians, Origins Foster Care will provide a holistic and therapeutic service, where Foster Careers will gain all the support needed.
An extra insight into the personal life of Eugene: Eugene is a father of four children and grandfather to one!
Catherine has worked in the Private foster Care Sector for several years.
Prior to working in the Social Care Sector, Catherine worked as a Marketing & Project Senior Manager in a commercial capacity. Catherine’s role as business manager focuses on the recruitment of Foster Carers through generating and maintaining an awareness for the continual demand for Foster Carers via social media and all Origins Foster Carer Marketing Sources.
Having worked closely over the years with the various Tusla Social Work Placement teams, she is fully aware of the needs of the children and young people that are referred to Origins Foster Care Service and how these needs must be reflected in the criteria required to become an approved Foster Carers.
Like all Origins Foster Care Team members, Catherine has completed training in Children’s First, SERAF, Safer Care, train the trainer and several other relevant courses to maintain a current knowledge of both the operational & statutory obligations of working with Foster Carers and providing placements for Children & Teenagers.
Social Work Team Leader
Nikki like all our Social Work team is CORU registered. She has been working as a social worker with children, their families and carers for almost ten years.
During this time Nikki has worked as a social worker and social work team leader with Tusla (formally HSE). In working with children and families Nikki has always strived to work in a collaborative and creative way to ensure that the team around the child can provide the most safe and nurturing environment for that child.
Nikki holds an honours degree in Social Work from Trinity College Dublin and the National Qualification in Social Work. In 2017 Nikki was awarded a Specialist Award in Social Work in the area of risk assessment from the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, for her training and work in the area of risk assessment of adults and children who may have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour.
In recent years Nikki has engaged in and continues to study in the areas of attachment, developmental trauma and therapeutic social work practice.
Denise has been working within the private foster care sector as an Administrator since 2014.
During this time, she has gained valuable experience and knowledge working as a senior administrator. Denise works closely with the social work team, recruitment team, foster carers and the foster care committees.
Denise is passionate about her commitment to supporting foster carers from application through to approval.
Denise has completed several certified training programmes to enhance her ability to provide a supportive and professional role within the Origins Foster Care team.
Senior Practitioner, Link Social Worker
Ciara graduated with an honour’s degree in Social Work from Trinity College Dublin and has a National Qualification in Social Work. Cíara is registered with CORU and is a full-time fostering link social worker with Origins foster carer since 2020. Cíara is a qualified risk assessor, having received the Specialist Award in Social Work from the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, and is trained to assess violent and sexual risk, as well as carers’ ability to protect.
Prior to moving to Origins, Cíara worked in Tusla within Adoption and Tracing Services as well as the Sexual Abuse Regional Team, carrying out assessment on allegations of sexual abuse. Cíara has always met this work with a non-judgemental attitude and strengths focused practice.
Outside of work, Cíara’s family are foster carers, which gives her a unique outlook on her role as link worker. Cíara is passionate about the benefit good quality foster care and the power of a trauma informed approach to care.
Laura works as an administrator in Origins foster care. She joined the agency in December 2020. Prior to her role as fostering administrator, she has over 16 years office experience working as a finance assistant for Irish retail companies.
Laura brings significant experience to her role, which is predominately supporting foster carers post approval with necessary paperwork, assisting in routine audits, liaising with Tusla social workers and Origin’s link workers, requesting updated documents, and preparing paperwork for all foster care reviews.
A little bit about Laura’s personal life – She has two children ages 5 and 2 and some of her hobbies include walking and baking.
Alexandre was born in Brazil and moved to Ireland to broaden his educational and work experience. With a degree in Environmental Engineering, his analytical skills are particularly useful in co ordinating training events, placement administration and supporting the accountancy team.
Alexandre has worked in Brazil with multicultural teams in diverse contexts: an active team member of AIESEC (NGO) in facilitating international students’ exchange. An NGO that develops leadership programs to young people, through cross-cultural experience in global volunteer internship. As part of the program, went abroad to Egypt in 2017, for two months, to promote cultural interchange between the two countries.
Alexandre uses his passion for social & cultural awareness to actively support his co-workers and Origins foster carers in both an enthusiastic but professional manner.
Recruitment & Assessment Team Leader
Clare joined the Origins foster care team in June 2021, having very recently returned from living in the UK.
Clare qualified as a social worker in 2009, with a master’s from the University of Edinburgh, having previously obtained a Bachelor of Social Science from University College Dublin in 2004. Since qualifying Clare has worked within the children and families setting, firstly as a practitioner and then becoming a manager in 2016. Clare has worked in child protection/children in care, connected persons, adoption, post order and fostering for various local authorities in London and Wales.
Clare is dedicated to her profession and continues to engage in training. She has attended training in areas of attachment and developmental trauma and has gained an advanced certificate in systemic practice from the Institute of Family Therapy. She is a qualified practice teacher too. Clare is Coru registered.
Outside of work Clare is a busy mum to two small children, 1 and 4, and enjoys the chaos that comes with this!