foster care fortnight 2022
foster wales continues to support vulnerable families towards better futures
There are currently more than 5,000 children living in foster care across Wales.
Over the last two years, families across the country have been hit hard by restrictions and the continuing cost of living crisis.
In a recent BBC News investigation, social workers voiced their concerns that post-pandemic there could be a ‘tsunami of need’ for vulnerable young people and parents across the country.
In an attempt to attend to these urgent needs, Welsh foster care communities have come together to provide vital support.
A total of 344 families in Wales started fostering with their local authority during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the number of children and young people receiving support from local authority social workers increased by around 400 families.
Statistics show that last year, 84 percent of children cared for by local authority foster carers were able to stay in their local area.
In contrast, 77 percent of children cared for by non-local authority fostering agencies were moved out of their local area to find foster care. 5.8 percent of children were moved out of Wales entirely.
In a recent Westminster Hall debate on the recruitment and retention of Foster Carers, foster care was described as ‘the bedrock of the care system in the UK.’
This Foster Care Fortnight™ (9-22 May), Foster Wales and The Fostering Network will use the theme of ‘fostering communities’ to celebrate the positive difference that local authority foster carers have made to children’s lives.
Foster Wales is a national network not-for-profit fostering services, comprising 22 local authority teams in Wales.
They want to encourage more people to become foster carers with their local authority so children can remain in their local area, close to their friends and families and remain in their schools. This can help children and young people retain their sense of identity and self during an otherwise turbulent time.
Alastair Cope is the Head of Foster Wales. He says:
“When families are struggling, it’s the social workers in the local authority who will offer help and support. If the situation means that children need to be cared for, it’s the teams in your local council who find the children a safe place to stay and has responsibility for them.
Our goal is for children to return to their families, when it’s right for the child. In most cases, by staying local, children can still see members of their family without travelling for hours and take comfort knowing that they aren’t going far away.
Maintaining connections is important, even when returning home isn’t possible.
Local authorities, working together as Foster Wales, help children stay connected to their roots and ultimately , support them towards better futures.”
singing the praises of fostering services
To highlight the incredible relationships that exist amongst the foster care community in Wales, Foster Wales has produced two inspiring feature videos.
The first video follows a close-knit group of Foster Carers in Bala, north Wales, some of whom became carers during the height of the pandemic. Meleri, Esyllt, Sian and Angharad speak candidly and emotionally about the importance of peer support during the lockdowns, and the children who arrived during that time.
The second video spends a day in the life of Foster Carer, Nicky, and her family. Nicky fosters in the Vale of Glamorgan and has supported the local authority with emergencies throughout the pandemic.
Nicky and her foster children have recently joined the Sing Proud Cymru choir, a joint project between the charity, Voices From Care Cymru, and the Wales Millennium Centre.
The choir is made up of care experienced young people and their carers.
During the pandemic, the choir had to conduct practises via Zoom, but they are now back in face-to-face rehearsals and hope to recruit new members in 2022.