Fostering campaign across the Vale
By Nub News Reporter
4th Feb 2024 | Local News
A new campaign from Foster Wales aims to inspire people from all walks of life to consider fostering with their local authority.
There are more than 7,000 children in the care system in Wales, but only 3,800 foster families.
There are currently 262 children in foster care in the Vale of Glamorgan. There are 129 foster carers in the Vale, but another 63 are needed.
Foster Wales, the national network of 22 Welsh local authority fostering teams, have set out with the bold aim of recruiting over 800 new foster families by 2026, to provide welcoming homes for local children and young people.
Foster Wales Vale of Glamorgan has joined the new campaign, 'bring something to the table,' utilising their greatest asset – current foster carers – to share realistic experiences of foster care and explore the small but significant human attributes people possess that can make the world of difference to a young person in care.
Foster Wales has spoken to over 100 people to develop the campaign, including foster carers, social workers, teachers, members of the public, and care leavers.
The responses from these groups highlighted three key things stopping potential carers from enquiring:
- A lack of confidence in their skills and ability to support a child in care
- The belief that fostering doesn't fit with certain lifestyles
- Misconceptions around the criteria to become a carer
Armed with this knowledge, Foster Wales has drawn on real stories of carers in Wales to show that local authority fostering is flexible, inclusive, and comes with extensive training and professional development opportunities.
"We already had all the skills we needed to become foster carers – and more people need to know they have the skills too."
Alison James, a foster carer within the Vale of Glamorgan, said: "I started fostering for the Vale in 2016 after losing my husband. I wasn't sure if I could do it on my own, but I absolutely love it.
"It has had some challenges, but it is so rewarding when you see the children doing ok.
"I found attending support group, that I have built up a great support network of Foster Carers, and have made some very special friends, who are so supportive when you have some struggles. These have been so helpful to me. Fostering is so rewarding."
Currently, Wales is in the process of a whole system change for children's services.
The changes proposed in the 2021 co-operation agreement between Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru made a clear commitment to 'eliminate private profit from the care of looked after children.'
This means, by 2027, care of children that are looked after in Wales will be provided by public sector, charitable or not-for-profit organisations, and the need for local authority foster carers is greater than ever.
Cllr Eddie Williams, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health, said: "I've seen first-hand the difference Foster Care can make for children dealing with difficult situations outside their control. With incredible support from our local authority foster carers within Foster Vale of Glamorgan, children are supported with empathy, skills, experience, and kindness to ensure they feel safe and secure.
"There are more children in our area who need to have a welcoming home and the right foster carer for them. It would be amazing for more people to become foster carers. Foster Vale of Glamorgan are recruiting and will ensure that there will be access to dedicated local knowledge and support enabling children to stay in their own local community, close to friends, their school and everything they hold close."
For more information about fostering, or to make an enquiry, visit: https://valeofglamorgan.fosterwales.gov.wales/