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Fostering & Adoption

Foster carers’ children thanked for their vital role

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Swansea Council is highlighting the valuable role that foster carers’ own children play in a fostering family as part of Sons and Daughters month (1-31 October).

The Fostering Network’s annual campaign celebrates and recognises the incredible contribution that sons and daughters give in welcoming foster children into their families.

The council’s fostering service, Foster Wales Swansea, is supporting the campaign in recognition of providing loving, safe and friendly homes for other children.

Many people might be concerned about the potential impact of fostering on their own children and the main reason why they choose not to become foster carers.

However, 47% of Foster Wales Swansea’s carers have birth or adopted children still living at home and their presence can make a real difference to foster children.

Aflie, 12 and Rosie 10, are siblings and very much enjoy being part of a fostering family.

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Rosie said: “I like that my family fosters and I’m really proud. I think all children deserve to be safe. I feel that I make other children happy. I have met lots of new people.

“I made new friends when I went to the sons and daughters group as I got to talk to other children whose family fosters. I love my foster brother. He is funny and he makes me happy. I like that I get to see the children who come to live with us grow up and become the best they can be.” 

Alfie added: “Foster carers have a positive effect on vulnerable children in the society we live in. I believe that some people hold back on fostering because they think that their own children won’t like it but I completely disagree.

“Fostering is amazing and if anything fostering makes life more fun. Since fostering, me and my family have helped lots of children. I now have a foster brother who is a big part of my life. I feel I set a good example for him to follow and love that he is part of our family.

“The hard bit of fostering is when children leave but it makes me happy to know my family has helped them. When I grow up I want to be a foster carer.”

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The Foster Wales Swansea team run a support group for their foster carers’ own children so they feel supported and can speak to other children who are part of a fostering family.

Councillor Elliott King, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “I would like to say a massive thank you to all the children of our foster carers and celebrate the important contribution they make to foster care. I’m so proud of what they do. I want to pay tribute to them for creating loving, safe and friendly environments for other children.

“I understand that many people thinking about fostering could naturally be concerned about the potential impact on their own children. However, our foster carers’ own children are testament to the positive impact that growing up in a fostering family can have.

“Seeing life from another’s perspective can be an enriching experience and can help a child learn and develop as an individual. They play a vital role in helping foster children to adjust to their new environment, and can become a mentor figure in helping a foster child to settle into their home and meet new friends.

“Sons and daughters of foster carers are unsung heroes and we want each and every child and young person who grows up as part of a fostering family to know just how important they are.”

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Fostering is a whole family approach and everyone in the household will be involved in the decision to foster and the assessment process. Foster Wales Swansea run a specific sons and daughters support group where activities and events occur throughout the year. It’s a chance to meet other children from families who foster and share their experiences in a fun and safe environment.

Foster Wales Swansea still need more foster carers. For more information, visit www.swansea.fosterwales.gov.wales or ring 0300 555 0111.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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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.

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“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.

“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.

“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.

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“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.

“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.

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

“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.”

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

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

“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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Fostering & Adoption

Campaign launched to significantly increase number and diversity of foster carers

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The campaign by ‘Foster Wales’, the new network of 22 Local Authority fostering services across the country aims to make a substantial national impact on the futures of young people.  

 With over a third (39%) of Welsh adults saying they have considered becoming a foster carer, a new campaign launches across Wales today, aimed at significantly increasing the number and diversity of Local Authority foster carers.

Throughout the country, every child in need of a foster carer is in the care of their Local Authority. The new bilingual advertising push, representing Neath Port Talbot and the other 21 not-for-profit Local Authority fostering teams that make up ‘Foster Wales’, aims to increase the number of foster parents needed to help keep children in their local area, when that is right for them.  

Helping children to stay in their local community can be of great benefit and mean the world to a child. Not only does it keep them connected to their friends, their school and their sense of identity, but it also builds confidence and reduces stress.  

Councillor Alan Lockyer, Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Services at Neath Port Talbot Council, says, “Becoming a foster carer is a decision to help local children who need someone to listen to them. To believe in them. Children who need someone on their side, someone to love them. It’s a decision to work with people who share those aims, people like your Local Authority fostering team here in Neath Port Talbot.

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 There is still a need to recruit an estimated 550 new foster carers and families across Wales every year. This is to keep up with the numbers of children who need care and support, while replacing carers who retire or provide a permanent home to children.      

Launching Foster Wales in July, Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan MS, said: “I know from listening to foster carers just how rewarding fostering can be. This new initiative will benefit looked after children and allow Local Authority fostering and recruitment teams across Wales to think bigger, creating a national impact without losing their advantage of specific local expertise.  

“This government is committed to reducing the number of children in care, giving care experienced children better outcomes, and importantly eliminating the profit element of children in care. Foster Wales is part of achieving this promise and will better enable children to stay in their community and meet the evolving needs of foster children and the people who foster them.”  

 While no two children are the same, neither is the foster care they need. There is no ‘typical’ foster family. Whether somebody owns their own home or rents, whether they’re married or single. Whatever their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or faith, there are young people who need someone on their side.     

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“We hope to welcome many more people into fostering with Foster Wales over the coming months,” adds Councillor Lockyer.

 “Anyone who fosters with their Local Authority Foster Wales team does so safe in the knowledge that wherever their fostering future takes them, we’ll be beside them every step of the way with all the dedicated expertise, advice and training needed to support their fostering journey.  

  “All children have a right to thrive. All we need is more people like you to open their doors and welcome them in.”  

  The new campaign by Foster Wales will span TV, radio, Spotify and digital platforms 

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Carmarthenshire

Welsh Local Authority fostering services have joined forces to become Foster Wales

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Local Authority fostering services in Wales have today joined forces to become ‘Foster Wales.

Teams across the nation will combine their efforts and expertise to significantly increase the number and diversity of Local Authority foster carers.

Despite over a third (39%) of Welsh adults claiming they have considered becoming a foster carer, there is still a need to recruit an estimated 550 new foster carers and families across Wales every year.

This is to keep up with the numbers of children who need care and support, whilst replacing carers who retire or are able to provide a permanent home to children.

The new national network, ‘Foster Wales’ brings together the 22 not-for-profit Local Authority fostering teams across Wales. With decades of experience, they work together and share information and expertise to make a significant national impact on the futures of young people.

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Launching Foster Wales Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan MS, said: “It is fantastic to be launching Foster Wales. I know from listening to foster carers just how rewarding fostering can be. This new initiative will benefit looked after children and allow Local Authority fostering and recruitment teams across Wales to think bigger, creating a national impact without losing their advantage of specific local expertise.”  

“This government is committed to reducing the number of children in care, giving care experienced children better outcomes and importantly eliminating the profit element of children in care. Foster Wales is part of achieving this promise and will better enable children to stay in their community and meet the evolving needs of foster children and the people who foster them.”

Across Wales, every child in need of a foster carer is in the care of their Local Authority, so continually forming relationships within their local communities will help Foster Wales enable children to stay in their local area when it’s right for them.

Local Authority teams already share information through regular contact, but just over a quarter (26%) of adults in Wales mistakenly believe fostering services delivered by councils probably aren’t very well joined up across the country. The move to unify the 22 Local Authority fostering services under the Foster Wales name therefore seeks to reassure and do justice to the pan-Wales work being undertaken.

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Elliott King, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “Significantly increasing the number and diversity of foster carers recruited directly to Local Authorities will enable us to have more choice available when matching a child; finding the right fostering family for each child is key to our ultimate goal of building brighter futures for children in our care.

“In the majority of cases, finding placements for children that keep them in their local area is a great benefit. It keeps them connected to their friends, their school and their sense of identity. It builds confidence and reduces stress. Working with Foster Wales means offering the right local home to a child who needs that opportunity and getting the expert local support and training needed to equip foster carers for the journey ahead.”

Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru, Heads of Children’s Services member Tanya Evans, said: “Becoming a foster carer is a decision to help make a real difference to the lives of children. There are hundreds of children across Wales right now who have a right to thrive and need somebody in their community to support and believe in them.

“Dispelling the myths surrounding foster care is a key task. For example, no two children are the same and neither is the foster care they need. There is no ‘typical’ foster family.

“Whether you own your own home or rent, whether you’re married or single. Whatever your gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or faith, there are young people in your community who need someone on their side.

“All we need is more people like you to open their doors and welcome them in.”

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To find out more about Local Authority fostering in Wales, visit fosterwales.gov.wales / maethucymru.llyw.cymru


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