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Fostering & Adoption

‘Exceptionally rewarding’ – foster carer details her experience for new campaign

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A local foster carer has detailed how rewarding the experience is as part of a campaign to attract more people into foster caring in Pembrokeshire.

The campaign is being run by Foster Wales, the new national network of 22 local authority fostering services in Wales.

As part of the campaign – which is being backed with TV and online advertising – foster carer Sue from Pembrokeshire has outlined her own experiences.

Sue, a single parent with two daughters, details why she got involved in foster caring:

 “I’d been working with vulnerable children as a Pastoral Manager in an inner-city Primary School throughout my daughters schooling years, so they’d been aware of the unmet needs of others from an early age.

“Both felt passionately that all children had the right to a loving and nurturing start to life and appalled at the thought that not all children get it.

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“Over the years, my daughters urged me to foster, along with the children I worked with in school who were either in the process of going into care or were there already.

“Once my daughters settled comfortably into their second year of university, I knew it was time.

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“I sold my house and moved to Pembrokeshire to be closer to my parents, cousins, and extended family for the support I knew I would need.

“When asked what age range I said any but was adamant that I wanted to keep siblings together, if possible. Over the years I had seen too many siblings split up.

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“Ironically, I ended up being matched with a nine-year-old identified as emotionally more stable without her siblings in the same setting, due to her own needs.

“It was on the understanding that I would not have any other foster placements as she craved 1:1. It was felt that I would provide the therapeutic and nurturing parenting that she desperately needed. We hit it off right from the start!

“My daughters and family all welcomed her, love her and taken her into the family. We sing and dance and laugh a lot.

“Don’t get me wrong, there are times where the trauma of her past is heartbreaking to witness.

“I feel honoured that she allows me in to support and see her through those times.

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“It is 24/7! It can be physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting but boy is it worth it when you see the difference you’ve made.

“My supervising social worker is an absolute star – always there with an encouraging word and the essential emotional support you as a care giver need, not to mention great advice, ideas, and avenues to try.”

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Asked what advice she would give to someone thinking of fostering, Sue said: “Investigate the practicalities, the financial implications, and geographical barriers.

“Hard hitting question but are you doing it for your dreams or for the benefit of the child?

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“I went into this idealistically thinking of what I could offer emotionally without thinking seriously of all the practical things I wasn’t able to offer.

As your foster child may need therapeutic intervention or additional medical appointments and checks, contact with family members as well as taking to clubs – ask yourself whether you are able to facilitate all of these without impinging on your work and earning potential.

“I wish I’d learned to drive before applying for fostering as being a non-driver as I find it a barrier to providing the best care for my foster child.

“So, saying all that, fostering is exceptionally emotionally rewarding when you do go into it with your eyes wide open and are fully prepared both practically and financially and I don’t regret getting into it for a moment.”

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