550 more foster carers needed across Wales in 2020
The Fostering Network has estimated that 550 foster families will be needed in Wales to keep up with the widespread demand.
To combat this, on 1 January 2020 Carmarthenshire Local Authority has launched, #20Reasons, a campaign to encourage people within their local area to consider fostering.
Carmarthenshire is one of nine local authorities who have joined forces to create #20Reasons. The campaign uses real foster carers and their motives for fostering to inform and inspire more families to consider looking after a child or young person.
The 20 reasons to foster range from making a difference to a child’s life by giving them a sense of love, belonging and security; to being part of building a positive future and; helping to keep a child in their local area so they can stay in school and near their friends.
All types of foster carers are needed but particularly those who would consider fostering teenagers, therapeutic carers, respite carers, emergency carers, sibling groups and children with additional needs.
Tammy, 36, is one of the foster carers supporting the campaign. She has been a foster carer for almost seven years. After years of trying to start a family of their own, Tammy and her partner chose to take a different approach through fostering.
Tammy said: “I realised that there are so many children that need a loving home and that I had so much love that I wanted to give to a child so it just made sense that this is how we could build our family.
“I have a really close bond with all of the children that I’ve fostered. One of our foster children is now 17 and doesn’t live with us anymore but still comes over for a Sunday dinner every week. Our current long-term foster children even call us mum and dad, and there’s no better feeling than that really.”
Sue John-Evans Fostering Team Manager said: “Not many people know the realities of fostering in Carmarthenshire from gaining new skills and qualifications to changing your career and feeling the reward and fulfilment that fostering brings. There are many reasons why people choose to foster and we hope we can inspire more to become the lifeline children and young people in need.”
If you’ve been thinking about fostering or would like more information:
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
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”
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
Carmarthenshire Fostering Service is recruiting foster carers for our children and we need the right kind of people who would embrace a child into their home. You would be surprised how many people feel that they haven’t got the skills necessary to become a foster carer, however if you have the right values and want to make a difference to a vulnerable child’s future, we would love to hear from you. You will be looked after from the first phone call that you make to our Team and will be fully supported through the application process if you choose to foster with our local fostering service based in the heart of our County.
We need long term foster carers, short term foster carers, respite foster carers and parent and baby foster carers……….basically if you feel that you would like to give a local child the chance to have a safe and secure future we would love for you to contact us.
Jackie and Marc, just two of our outstanding foster carers have shared their feelings about their own fostering journey since becoming approved foster carers for Carmarthenshire County Council in early 2018. Jackie and Marc chose to foster for Carmarthenshire following a lot of research into becoming foster carers and many phone calls and meetings. They wanted to foster a local child with a local fostering service to enable them to receive the right kind of support and friendly 24 hour service from a dedicated team of experienced, highly professional and skilled social workers. We are so grateful they chose to foster for us. We are lucky to have them.
In fact we are so grateful to all our foster carers for choosing to foster with us, but we are also passionate about the fact that every child who is looked after in Carmarthenshire has local support from a Corporate Service and this enables us to coordinate the right sort of bespoke care for every foster carer and child from one central base.
Our children need to have a local team around them and this is what happens within Carmarthenshire’s Children Service.
Jackie and Marc recognised the importance of being matched carefully with a child from Carmarthenshire who already had a strong professional support network around him. This enabled them to have confidence that Carmarthenshire’s fostering service had the right ethos and approach to enable them to provide care for our most vulnerable children. It also ensured that they had someone from a local team, whether it be the fostering service, someone from our specialist education service, the child’s social worker or one of our specialist therapeutic social workers on hand and only a short distance away if they needed support there and then.
Keeping children within their communities is so important and enables them to feel safe and connected to their roots. This is vital for their future wellbeing and it’s very rare for a child to need to be placed far away from their community. Jackie and Marc fully recognise that supporting a child to enable him to remain in his own school and access local services and clubs has had a huge impact on how successfully they have managed their first year with us. They are one of our outstanding foster carers who are doing an extraordinary service, but would just say that they are ‘caring for a child as one of their own’. To them it’s not extraordinary, however we see the bigger picture and ensuring stability for all our most vulnerable children is our goal.
Carmarthenshire’s Fostering Service has had a 100% record of satisfaction from our foster carers during their first year of looking after our vulnerable children and this is something that we are very proud of.
We value our foster carers like Jackie and Marc and we completely understand that becoming a foster carer is just the start of a journey that will hopefully last for many years.
Jackie and Marc
‘My husband and I have two grown up children together we are both teachers and facilitators in personal development we are both passionate about helping others to reach their potential.
We decided to look into becoming foster carers initially offering respite care, we looked at a variety of agencies offering training and support.
When we contacted Carmarthenshire County Council fostering Network, we felt instantly at ease with the friendly yet professional approach from the team.
At each stage of the training process we were given relevant information and tailored support. We felt that the Fostering Team and the inclusive and diverse approach they offered fitted with our own values and met our needs giving us the tools to enable us to grow into our roles as full time professional therapeutic foster parents.
Our thoughts of being respite carers changed through the training process and we were introduced to a wonderful young boy who after several visits came to live with us full time and has fitted in to our family life perfectly.
We were carefully matched with our first placement and the process was robustly managed by the fostering team to facilitate a smooth (as possible) transition for all involved.
Fast-forward a year and returning to panel has given us time to reflect on our journey. Becoming foster parents has had its challenging moments and without a doubt it has also enabled us to grow as a family, our new family has taught us a lot about ourselves as individuals and has made our family stronger as a whole.
We feel valued as part of the fostering team, and privileged to be able to offer a safe and secure home making a positive contribution to the wellbeing of children within our community.
We are glad that we chose Carmarthenshire Fostering Service, having looked at several other agencies beforehand.’
Carmarthenshire’s Fostering Service recognise that it’s not only the grown-ups in the family who foster. Children who foster are a huge part of making our placements such successes and their role cannot be underestimated. Quite often it’s the sons and daughters of our foster carers who make placements work and their ability to support their foster siblings can make a huge difference to children who are looked after.
Gwen is a young person who fosters and she, along with her sisters have supported many children over the years. She totally embraces fostering and we are lucky to have children and young people like her.
Gwen has let us take a peek into her life at home. This is an article from Thrive magazine which is the publication by The Fostering Network who helps us support young people who foster and Gwen shared her honest account of what it’s like to foster
It’s an annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and to show how foster care transforms lives. To launch the start of Fostering Fortnight the Foster Mid and West Wales team were at Dinefwr Park, Llandeilo from 11-3pm on Saturday 11thMay. #changeafuture
Remember that you can meet some of our fostering team at the HWB’s in Carmarthenshire during fostering fortnight, between 9am and 1pm. The HWB in Ammanford is at 41 Quay Street, Llanelli HWB is at 36 Stepney Street and Carmarthen HWB is located in the council offices in Spillman Street. Cal the fostering bear has also been putting in an appearance so come down and have an informal chat with our team members, we are looking forward to seeing you.