cath and neil’s fostering journey
Cath and Neil began their fostering journey with an independent fostering agency (IFA.) In 2018, they transferred to Foster Wales Wrexham. This is their story.
wanting to make a difference
Cath and Neil first considered fostering back in 2012.
At that time, Cath already supported care-experienced children in her role as a Primary school teacher, and the couple also ran a regular drop-in session for teenagers at their local church.
Thinking back to those church sessions, Neil says:
“I remember there was one young lady who used to attend, she was quite angry and upset at first. Then she went to live with a foster carer down the road, and after a couple of months, you could see the transformation in her. It made us think, wow you can really make a difference.”
“When it came to fostering in our home, we’d both been thinking about it separately, and then one night we had a proper conversation, and it went from there.”
The couple applied to become foster carers with an IFA, because they had friends who fostered through an agency.
transferring to foster wales wrexham
During their time with the IFA, Cath continued to work part-time, supporting their three children and the young person in their care.
However, after four and a half years, they decided they wanted to transfer to their local authority team.
“Local authority fostering teams go above and beyond to support both the young people in care, and the foster carers who look after them. They are always there for you.” explains Cath.
the importance of local connections
The couple say the children in their care have benefitted hugely from the extended local support that a council can provide.
“the local authority has access to lots of relevant resources, and they offer solid, practical advice to ensure the needs of the young person are fully met.
“It’s so important that children stay in their local areas, so they’re close to their friends and their school.
“When we were fostering with an agency, children were often moved around a lot from carer to carer, sometimes far away from their roots. In the case of one young person who lived with us, their school was over an hour away, which made it very difficult to keep up their local connections, and meant we spent 2 hours each day in the car.
“Now, the children we look after keep in touch with their friends and relatives, and that’s vital.”
an extended fostering community
The couple also feel they have personally benefited from the close-knit community of foster carers in their area.
“In our previous experience, there were only a few foster carers to connect with, and not many of those lived locally, so it was difficult to have that community aspect,” says Neil.
Now, they attend regular in-person social events, and meet up for coffee mornings with other carers in their area, to share stories and advice.