Fostering Case Studies

My husband and I have been fostering for two years and our biggest regret is not having started sooner.

Foster carers and foster children share their experiences of local authority foster care in Mid and West Wales.
*Please note, in some cases child actors have been used for the purpose of filming.

After years of careful planning, Tracey and me retired and moved to Wales in 2015 with a view to relaxing to a life of gardening, DIY and travel. However, after a few months, we both felt that perhaps we should look for something meaningful to do with our spare time, and as we were both involved in care before retirement we started thinking about how we could use this experience to support others.

It was on a journey home from Carmarthen that we saw an advertisement by Carmarthenshire Council for people who were interested in supporting children by becoming foster carers. It was then that we began to think that perhaps this was the opportunity we were looking for, and therefore contacted the fostering team and after a brief chat we were invited to an information evening.

Following the information evening, we attended a three day induction program on becoming a foster carer, and even though we were keen to move forward to become foster carers, we still had reservations about whether this was the right move for us.

However, on day three of this program we both felt that we could balance the responsibilities of being a foster carer with the responsibilities we had to our family and personal goals, by becoming respite carers.

What really impressed us was the support available, the structure of the team at Carmarthenshire Council and the enormous training available to you, once you were approved. Following a few months of interviews and references, we were ready to go to panel for approval and once we had gone through this process, we were registered to provide respite care.

As with all new situations, it’s not until you are put in the position where you have to put these new skills into practice do you begin to doubt your abilities, however, we had a great mentor we could contact for help as well as our supervising social worker and the added support of the out of hours team.

So, we then had our first placement, a mother and new born baby. We felt like new starters at any job, nervous, lacking confidence and wondering why we put ourselves through this stress, but you know what, it was ok. The mum and baby were lovely and all our nerves and worries disappeared and we began to enjoy ourselves. Yes, it was formal, but we both had interpersonal skills, a grasp of a common language and all wanted the best outcome.

And so our journey had begun, but it wasn’t all about caring for others, we became aware of our own shortfalls and so we started attending the extensive training we now had access too, and like I have always found, the more you get to know, the less you realised you knew. The training itself was excellent, but it also brought us into contact with other foster carers and that proved as important as the training, they shared their own experiences and gave me and Tracey valuable advice which we benefited from enormously.

Three years on, we have had the pleasure of caring for children of all age groups, backgrounds and more recently children with complex medical needs, in addition to having met many likeminded individuals who genuinely care about the welfare of children. We often reflect on our fostering journey and the people we have come into contact with and we never cease to be amazed how much pleasure and personal satisfaction we get from being foster carers.David and Tracey Willard from Mynyddcerrig have been providing respite foster care since 2015

If you have ever thought of fostering then stop thinking and register now.

My husband and I have been fostering for two years and our biggest regret is not having started sooner. There is always a demand for new foster parents, especially for teenagers and you could make a real difference to some child’s life.

Before I applied for fostering I worried about everything that you could possibly think of and then I worried some more, all the friends I talked to about it told me they thought I would be brilliant at it, my own children told me the same thing but still I worried that maybe I would not be good enough and that I would let some already traumatised child down. I was worrying about nothing…Yes I make mistakes and often feel I could have handled some situations better but there is always someone there to talk things through with, you are supported every step of the way.

There are challenges in fostering just like in any other undertaking but if you can maintain your sense of humour and be non-judgmental and consistent then these can be overcome and the rewards are enormous!!! No one can explain to you how good it feels to hear a child who is generally quiet and withdrawn laugh or the sense of pride you will feel when they get a good school report or simply say thank you and on top of all that you get to plan birthdays and Christmas and Easter and so many other things that are just pure FUN!!!

I’m not going to pretend that fostering is easy…it’s not and it’s not for everybody but if it’s not for you, you will find out long before you get a child placed with you…so what do you have to lose? It’s a new year with new opportunities and new doors opening….why not seize the moment and apply right now…. you have nothing to lose and (like me) you may well find out that it is the most rewarding thing you have ever done.Anita and Philip’s Fostering Story

The entire selection process, whilst being a lengthy one, was organised extremely well, and given that the ultimate goal of the application process is to entrust you with the care of vulnerable children, we would not have expected anything less. The application process provides the opportunity to not only determine whether or not you are suitable for fostering, but also to establish whether or not fostering is suitable for yourself and/or your family, with no pressure at any stage. We were kept informed of all requirements from Powys Council as far as the application process is concerned, and have been helped and visited on a regular basis by their excellent team of social workers. The Skills for Fostering course was invaluable as it gave us a real insight in to what we can expect moving forwards, and promoted many discussions within the household on certain topics. At no point during the process were we left with the feeling that we were on our own, as we could call on help and advice at every stage.

As the time of writing this statement, we are awaiting our first child placement, and whilst we can both admit to being slightly apprehensive at the prospect of being responsible for another child in our home, the chance of being able to give a child a safe place to call home, and to play a part in their development, however small, far outweighs any possible negatives. We are very much looking forward to this chapter in our lives, and to working with Powys council’s supportive fostering teamGemma and Stephen are recently approved Foster Carers, and share with us their thoughts on the training and assessment

I enjoy the company of the children who we foster. I especially like doing the pre-adoption and playing a part in the adoption process. It’s great being able to teach the little ones new things and spending time with them. I’m part of the sons and daughters group which is a group that sons and daughters of foster carers can attend where we do various activities and we are able to talk to other children whose parents foster. If we have any worries we are able to discuss them with other children who understand.Ellie, daughter of a foster carer
Don’t delay, find out how you could make a positive difference to a child or young person’s life in Mid and West Wales today!