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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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.
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”
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
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.
The role of a foster carer can be both extremely rewarding and at the same time emotionally strenuous, requiring resilience and an ability to build on training and experience while working as part of a team.
For many children in care living with a male foster carer may be their first positive experience of a male adult.
Pembrokeshire Fostering Team recently held a successful training event for Men who Foster where participants shared over 67 years of fostering experience. Those attending really valued the opportunity to share common themes and discuss topics from a male perspective. With further sessions planned it is hoped these links will serve as a platform to build on existing levels of support, by creating opportunities for mentoring and shared activities.
If you are interested in finding out more about fostering call the fostering team on 01437 774650 to find out more. Remember fostering changes lives – you could make a difference.
Well it’s been 11 years since we started fostering, I can’t believe it. I always wanted to foster but it took a few years to persuade Rhys. All our children were grown up and I suppose it was a bit like empty nest syndrome. We chose fostering because we wanted to make a difference in a child’s life.
We are approved for short term placements of older children, although our main role has developed into providing Mother and Baby placements which we really enjoy. This role fits in well with our family since the placements are planned and are for a set period of time. I just love supporting the “Mums” and this way round I don’t get too attached.
Mostly I support the mum with life skills, helping them to make good decisions and being available for that guidance and reassurance. Building their trust is the key to helping them to relax in our home and putting them at ease so they can come to us with any concerns.
Our family are great, my children are a massive support. My grandchildren are used to people coming and going and we always encourage the young mothers to join in any family activities. My house is always busy with social workers and other professionals calling, so the kettle is always on!
All my mothers have their own stories to tell and make such an impression on us. They always leave a bit of themselves behind. I am so pleased if they get to take their babies home. I have gained so much experience from doing this role. I have always been keen to access training and will take away any bit of advice and put it into practice.
Fostering Mother and Baby placements has had a massive impact on our daily lives, you have to be able to think on your feet and sometimes the role can feel a bit restrictive through the level of supervision and support these young mothers need.
Giving them the space and time to parent their child means everything. They have given us so much back in return through the life lessons they have taught us. Drawing out and re-discovering the young person at a level they are comfortable with has been such a learning curve and trying not to “kill them with kindness” is really difficult for me, since they need to stand on their own two feet.
We both love what we do and would advise anyone thinking of doing this to keep an open mind. Perhaps start slowly and dip your toe in the water, maybe through respite or short breaks, to find out if it’s for you. Since you won’t know if you like it until you try it! So give yourself the chance to decide.
Pembrokeshire Fostering Service are holding an information evening on March 13th at Cafe Rio, Quay Street, Haverfordwest from 5 – 7.30pm. If you know someone who might be interested bring them along. It’s an informal event and an opportunity for interested people to meet foster carers and staff and chat over a tea/coffee.