Can you #FosterForCarmarthenshire Competition!

Get Involved!

Foster Carmarthenshire have teamed up with The Wave in our search for a special person(s) who can provide a secure and consistent routine and help vulnerable children to develop and thrive. If you want to make a difference to a local child’s life and find out more about fostering, please get in touch.

You can help us share the message and get involved by entering The Waves competition!

Enter the competition to have your child’s drawing of your family used on the brand new Foster Carmarthenshire Facebook Page!

Use #FosterForCarmarthenshire on Twitter and Instagram to share your drawing to our gallery!

 

Foster Carer Interview

• Why did you choose to care for children with additonal needs?

We started fostering approx 14 years ago and initially we chose to look after babies and young children (pre adoption) which were similar in age to our own three children. I have various qualifications in childcare and have always worked with children since leaving college, most of these posts were with children with additional needs therefore I have gained a lot of knowledge and confidence along the years with various conditions and needs. One day our supervising social worker approached us and asked us if we would consider a long term placement for two brothers, both with additional needs. We had always been open to a long term placement and had discussed this with our supervising social worker previously but it needed to be the right placement for our family. We discussed the possibility of taking the boys on with our own children in great lengths and it was important that they understood what long term meant and what additional needs the boys had and what support/care they would need from us as a family. We (the whole family) met the boys in a fostering Halloween party and I can honestly say there was no going back, we fell in love instantly. We had introductions over the next couple of weeks, including tea visits and visits to their placement just to familiarise us with their needs and routines and for them to familiarise themselves with our home and family.

• How have your family adapted to caring for children with additional needs?

Our children have grown up Fostering with children coming to stay with us from various backgrounds. They have an understanding that every child has his/her own needs and we have always taught them about inclusion and treating everyone equally. I honestly think that fostering has taught them empathy and patience towards others and this has put them in good stead for welcoming the boys to our family. They now help look after the boys on a daily basis and they have grown in confidence to meet their needs independently. They’re so proud of the boys and the achievements they have made since coming to live with us.

• What challenges, if any, have you faced when caring for a child with additional needs?

It is daunting at first getting to grips with their routines and needs and we had double that as both boys have very different additional needs. We were very grateful that we had fantastic support from their previous Foster Carers who provided us with all the information we needed and even when the boys moved to us she was only a phone call away. The support we also received from the boys Social Worker and our Supervising Social Worker was also vital in ensuring that it was a smooth transition and that the placement was and continues to be a success. I will say that hospital appointments along with other agency appointments are tough going at times especially with two children with additional needs but when the boys came to live with us I decided to give up my work and concentrate on fostering and its the best thing I have done.

• What is the most rewarding part of providing this type of foster care?

I used to love fostering babies and young children (pre adoption) but I found it very difficult seeing the children moving on to new families. I know the boys are here to stay and that gives me a sense of security. There are daily challenges but to see a child grow and flourish in your care is the best feeling ever. We have seen so much progress in the boys since they came to live here and that’s due to the love, security and sense of belonging they must feel being a part of our family.

• What advice would you give to someone thinking of becoming a foster carer for children with additional needs?

I would say to think carefully, learn everything you can about the child before making any decisions but if you think you can manage his/her needs then go for it. You will not regret it as it will gives you such a sense of achievement and fulfilment. There is so much support out there in the form of the child’s Social Worker, your Supervising Social Worker, teachers, occupational therapists etc . We have never looked back and don’t regret having the boys and we can honestly say it’s the best decision we ever made welcoming them to our family.

Carmarthen Journal Article December 2020

Kinship Care Week: 5-11 October 2020

Kinship Care Week: 5-11 October 2020

This week Pembrokeshire County Council are celebrating Kinship Care Week

What is kinship care?

Kinship care often begins with a family crisis, with a child whose parents are no longer able to care for them. When a loved one steps in – a grandparent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or family friend, they become a kinship carer, bringing up the children they love.

Kinship families in the UK are raising over 200,000 children and kinship care can be life changing and challenging, there’s often little chance to prepare. Plans are pushed aside. Relationships, jobs and savings are sacrificed. Yet kinship carers do it without a thought for themselves because they put the children first.

Kinship Care Week increases understanding and recognition of the role of kinship carers and the challenges they often face, but importantly, it’s also an opportunity to thank kinship carers for the incredible job they do raising children.

We’re ready for Kinship Care Week!

This year, we’re working with Grandparents Plus to celebrate Kinship Care Week online.  We are asking kinship families to share selfies, pictures of their families, and stories about what makes them a #ProudKinshipCarer or part of a #ProudKinshipFamily. Kinship carers and people who work with kinship carers can follow the hashtag #KinshipCareWeek and share their stories and images online.

Pembrokeshire Kinship Connected online support group. This support group consists of kinship carers from Pembrokeshire coming together to share stories, training opportunities, support each other, and exchange advice and coping mechanisms. It is supported by Tracey McCarney and Steve Lewis from The Family Placement Team. The next online support groups will be on Thursday 5th November 10:30-11:30am and Thursday 3rd December 10:30-11:30am. If you would like more information please contact steve.lewis@pembrokeshire.gov.uk 07825365150.

Who are Grandparents Plus?

Grandparents Plus is the leading kinship care charity in the UK.  They support kinship carers in their homes and communities, giving advice and helping them work through problems to find the best way forward.   Kinship carers who need support can get in touch here: www.grandparentsplus.org.uk or call 0300 123 7015

#KinshipCareWeek

Upcoming live webinars delivered by Kate Cairns

Adoption Mid & West Wales have been working with Kate Cairns Associates to develop a new programme of webinars in response to Covid-19. The live webinars will delivered by Kate Cairns, who is an author, speaker and trainer with an international reputation for her work around attachment, trauma and resilience, particularly in relation to vulnerable children and young people. She has been a social worker for forty years, and a trainer for twenty years.

Webinar Course 1: ‘Covid-19, Toxic Stress and Community Resilience: Maintaining compassionate reason during social adversity’.

Date: Wednesday 24th June 2020
Time: 1.30 – 3.00pm
Where: Zoom online

Description: Toxic levels of stress can change the way we think, feel and behave until we have recovered from the Trauma. This can happen to anyone, and at times of significant social adversity such as pandemic or climate change it will happen to many. This webinar, delivered by Kate Cairns, and the e-learning which accompanies it, enables participants to reflect on the implications of trauma-informed practice under such conditions. Trauma-informed practice has increasingly been recognised as important as our understanding of the current research evidence grows. And at a time when the whole population is living with issues of toxic stress and severe anxiety trauma-informed practice becomes essential for everyone.

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Webinar Course 2: ‘Community Resilience and Secondary Trauma’.

Date: Wednesday 8th July 2020
Time: 1.30 – 3.00pm
Where: Zoom online

Description: Trauma is catching! Anyone who works with traumatised people may find at some point that they are affected by secondary trauma, developing similar signs and indicators of trauma to the people they are with. Secondary trauma is particularly likely in situations where the whole population is facing major stress. This course enables learners to understand key issues about the impact of secondary trauma on individuals, organisations and support networks, and then identify and develop skills in recognition, prevention and management of those effects.

If you are interested in attending any of the webinars please register by clicking on the link below.
https://kca.training/register.cfm?form=MWAS-C19-2020

Five simple steps to Foster

intra fostercare

1. Talk to us
Pick up the phone and speak to a member of our friendly fostering team on 01437 774650. Find out how we can help you start your fostering journey. We will be happy to answer any questions and outline the fostering process.

2. Meet with us
If you decide to take the next step, we will visit you at home to find out more about you and members of your household. This is an opportunity for you all to ask any questions and for us to see your home and the space you have available. Together we will discuss which type of fostering is right for you and whether it is the right time to get started.

3. Your application
After meeting with us we will invite you to fill out an application. You will need to supply a number of references and undertake several checks, including employment references, background checks and medical reports.

4. Your training & assessment
To help you prepare to become a foster carer you will attend a fostering preparation course to hear about the skills required for fostering and meet some of our foster carers. During the assessment you will talk about your life, early years, current family situation and experiences that could affect the way you would care for a child. During this time you will consider the age of children and type of fostering placements you would like to offer. These visits and discussions will be the basis of a fostering assessment report about you and your family. Your fostering social worker will guide you through this part of the process and share the report with you.

5. Your approval
You will be invited to attend a fostering panel with your fostering social worker where your report will be presented. The panel is a group of people who have experience and knowledge about fostering. They will discuss your report and you may be asked questions. The panel will recommend whether you are ready to be approved. Following approval you will receive ongoing training and support from your supervising social worker and will become part of our growing fostering community.

Launch of the Post Approval Learning and Development Framework

One of the National Fostering Framework’s (NFF) work-streams has been the development of the Learning and Development Framework for Foster Carers.  The Fostering Network and AFA Cymru led on the development of a Learning and Development Framework.  There was extensive consultation with foster carers and staff across Wales which made a significant contribution to the development of this work.  The purpose of the Learning and development framework is to offer a consistently high standard of post approval training to all local authority foster carers across Wales.

Currently there are variations in local practices in learning and development between local authorities; in Mid and West Wales we are proud to have been offering a high standard for many years.

The national fostering framework vision Learning and Development statement says “Fostering Families in Wales are offered great learning opportunities that meet their professional and personal needs, reflects their growing experience and supports them to provide high quality care for children and young people”

  • Principle 1 – The NFF post approval learning and development framework forms part of the professional development pathway for foster carers in Wales, who are recognised as part of the social care work-force in Wales”
  • Principle 2 – “Post approval learning and development provides foster carers and their families with opportunities to benefit from shared learning experiences, alongside professionals as part of the team around the child”
  • Principle 3 – “Post approval training has consistent quality and content. Foster Carers own the responsibility for their motivation to develop and achieve personal learning goals”
L & D Powys Launch 30/01/2020
Powys Launch of the Post Approval Learning and Development Framework for Foster Carers, 30th January 2020.

 

aunch of the Post Approval Learning and Development Framework
Pembrokeshire Family Placement Team recently launched the Post Approval Learning and Development Framework for Foster Carers at their Christmas Craft Coffee Morning held on Wednesday 20th November. This initiative is one of the National Fostering Frame work’s (NFF) work streams which aims to provide a basis for a national approach to delivering learning and development for foster carers across Wales.

 

On Thursday 14th November, as part of Skills to Foster (4 day initial training course delivered by the Fostering Team for “would be foster carers”), the Ceredigion Fostering Team launched the Post Approval Learning and Development Framework for Foster Carers.

Induction Framework

completion of the Induction Frameworkcompletion of the Induction FrameworkCarmarthenshire Fostering Service are very proud to have presented our Local Authority Foster Carers, Vicky and Chris Jones and Deborah Jones with certificates for the completion of the Induction Framework.  Despite being very busy with caring for their families and really embracing fostering for Carmarthenshire, Vicky, Chris and Deborah have embraced Learning and Development opportunities to support their strengths and confidence in caring for children and young people.

The Induction Framework programme facilitated by Social Worker Ms Janet Freimanis is one of the first in Wales and recognises the need to support our foster carers throughout their journey with ongoing Learning and Development opportunities.

They were presented with their certificates by Carmarthenshire Fostering Panel’s Independent Chairperson Mr David McGregor at their first year Panel review in recognition of the wonderful support they have provided to some of our most vulnerable children. Carmarthenshire Fostering Service are very lucky to have them on board and we look forward to working with Vicky, Chris and Deborah for many more years to come.

Boxing Day Mascot Race

Cal the Fostering Bear took on the challenge of running the annual mascot race at Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli, during halftime at the Scarlets v Ospreys match on Boxing Day.

Cal ran the length of the rugby pitch, Cal didn’t win the race but he gave a brilliant performance in front of a large crowd of rugby supporters.  Well Done Cal!

Could you foster Jack?

Jack* is a 12 year-old boy who is sociable and affectionate with a great sense of humour. Those who know Jack well describe him as loving, determined, kind, funny and energetic.  He enjoys music (especially Elvis!), cartoons, swimming and he loves playing outdoors; and his favourite place to visit is Folly Farm. He loves sensory play and enjoys getting messy with paints and sand.

Jack has a diagnosis of Global Developmental Delay, asthma and has limited speech but is encouraged to be independent and will often communicate his needs and wants.  Jack requires adult supervision at all times as he has very little awareness of danger and can be very busy.

Jack responds very well to good routines and he sleeps all through the night. He does needs support and encouragement with his personal care as he finds these tasks quite upsetting.

Jack attends a specialist unit for children and has the support of a one-to-one teaching assistant. He  is very sociable with other children, especially younger children, enjoys school and seeing his friends.

Jack has been through an extremely difficult year for such a young boy, however in the last 6 months in a calm and loving environment he is starting to thrive; he’s able to concentrate better in class, made new friends and in general made amazing progress.

Would you be able to give Jack a home? We are looking for a long-term foster placement for Jack where there two carers who are able to give him the high level of supervision, support and love he needs.  Jack needs a calm and quiet environment but one which can provide him with adequate stimulation and positive social interactions. His foster carers will need to be patient, warm, responsive and reliable.

Foster carers have a real chance to make a positive difference to the lives of children.  They receive on-going training, 24-hour support and financial allowances.

If you think you have the love, skills, time and commitment to become Jack’s foster carers, please contact our Fostering Recruitment Team for an informal chat and to answer any questions on 0800 0933 699 or email fostering@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

To find out more about fostering in general please get in touch or visit our website foster.midandwest.wales/carmarthenshire

*Please note images and names do not relate to the foster child’s profiles and have been changed to protect identities.