You’ve been staying home to stay safe over the last few weeks. People who can help to make a difference to your life want to listen to how you have felt about having to do this because of the Coronavirus and any effect it has had on you.
This survey has been written by these organisations with help from children and young people:
Children’s Commissioner for Wales
Children in Wales
Youth Parliament for Wales / Senedd Ieuenctid Cymru
The survey closes on 29th January 2021 so please complete it as soon as you can.
• 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.
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’.
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.
—————————————————————————- Webinar Course 2: ‘Community Resilience and Secondary Trauma’.
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.
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”
Carmarthenshire 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sons and Daughters of foster carers group met after school on Friday 15th November for a cookery session in Y Sied, Nantgaredig.
The children enjoyed making pizzas and cupcakes and spent time socialising with other children whose parents foster for the local authority. The sons and daughters group meet regularly throughout the year to discuss topics relevant to their role as children of foster carers.
The purpose of the sons and daughters of foster carers group is to show the children that they are valued for the role they play in their families who foster.
IMPROVING the future of children and young people in foster care is at the heart of a new regional partnership.
Fostering services from the four local authorities of Carmarthenshire, Powys, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire have come together to form Foster Mid and West Wales.
The aim is to work together with local children to create a strong partnership and ultimately to improve the outcomes for young people in foster care. The key message is Local Carers, Local Children, Local Services.
A new regional fostering website has been launched together with a Foster Carers’ Charter which sets out a vision for future service delivery.
Launched at the National Botanic Gardens at Llanarthne it was a celebration of the amazing work and dedication of the local authority staff, foster carers and their families across all four regions.
The event included a demonstration of the new website to help with the recruitment of foster carers throughout the region; and foster carers had the opportunity to share their personal foster care journeys.
Carmarthenshire’s Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “A regional approach brings together the joint experience and success of our individual fostering services to allow us to learn from each other and enhance recruitment and training opportunities for fostering across the region.
“Foster Mid and West Wales is passionate and committed to providing stable and nurturing homes to children and young people; providing specialist training and round-the-clock support to the exceptional team of foster carers and their families.
“It takes compassion, a sense of humour, flexibility and an open mind to foster and Foster Mid and West Wales is very lucky to have so many wonderful foster carers to help our children and young people become independent, confident and happy individuals, with great life choices ahead of them.”
Cllr Rachel Powell, Cabinet Member for Powys County Council Children’s Services, said: “It was a great pleasure to be present at this event, with so many humbling accounts from the four regions, which emphasised the value of our foster carers and the unique, professional role that they provide for our young people who we need to care for.
“There are so many valid reasons to be a foster carer and as part of the Mid and West Wales Fostering launch, there is a firm welcome to further discussions from anyone wishing to find out more. The assumption that to be a foster carer you need to be part of a two parent family is simply not true. Fostering involves unique individuals who are passionate and genuinely want to support children and young people in their lifelong journey, which can be hugely satisfying.”
Cllr Catherine Hughes, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Children’s Services for Ceredigion, said: “Ceredigion County Council is proud to be part of the regional partnership, we’re committed in making sure that young people in foster care and foster carers are fully supported.
“The new website will be a great resource for existing foster carers and also anyone who may be considering giving fostering a go – it’s worthwhile to take a look.”
Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services Cllr Tessa Hodgson said: “Foster carers provide a vital service to children and young people across the region, a loving stable foster placement can turn a life around #changeafuture.
“This new strong partnership and regional working will help to provide those critical placements and support for foster families.”
To find out more about becoming a foster carer in your local area visit the website for further information, as well as case studies and news visit foster.midandwest.wales