Jeroen Stevens

Jeroen Stevens
Country: Belgium
Languages: English, Dutch
Licensed Signs of Safety Trainer 🔵
Jeroen graduated from college in Antwerp, Belgium in 2003 and immediately dived into practice with underage non-native newcomers for the City of Antwerp. Whilst there, he saw that certain ethnic minorities such as the Romany are particularly vulnerable in (western) society. After an immediate study of Portuguese language and culture in Lisbon, he switched to the Vlaams Agentschap, where over the past 15 years, he has guided hundreds of children and their families who are in unsafe family situations. Jeroen first became inspired and passionate about social work in his early 20's, when he spent a year in a Brazilian 'favela' (a type of ghetto) where he worked on an educational project. At the same time, he worked with a team that did pastoral work in the local men's prison in Salvador da Bahia. In Brazil, he saw there was a higher rate of intake to care for children of African minorities and that not everyone is born with equal opportunities.

Throughout his career, he searched for answers to the question of how children and their vulnerable families could be treated better and more fairly in child protection services around the world.

When Andrew Turnell and Joke Wiggerink facilitated a safety planning course in Brussels in 2014, the answer to Jeroen's question of how a high-quality child protection system can be organised worldwide came very clearly to him. He absorbed the Signs of Safety approach like a sponge and over the past 8 years, as a manager, he has immersed his team of workers in the approach at the social service juvenile court in Antwerp.

Over the years, Jeroen was greatly inspired by Pene and Andrew Turnell, Sabien De Klerck, Joke Wiggerink, Marieke Vogel and Lotte Steur-Strik. They helped Jeroen and his team become better at the difficult job of child protection and in turn encouraged the Antwerp youth judges to embrace the Signs of Safety approach. 'Leading the Learning' eventually led Jeroen to become a licensed trainer in Signs of Safety in 2023.