foster care fortnight
Admiral becomes a Fostering Friendly employer as Foster Wales calls on Welsh employers to do more to support foster carers.
Every day in Wales there are five children in need of foster care.
This Foster Care Fortnight™, Foster Wales is calling on employers to become Fostering Friendly, in the hopes of raising awareness that you can continue working if you become a foster carer.
Currently around 40% of foster carers combine their caring responsibility with other work.
One company who has made the commitment is Wales based financial services company, Admiral. It has become a Fostering Friendly employer to support colleagues who are already, or wish to become, a foster carer.
Admiral employs more than 7000 people in the UK, the majority in Cardiff and Swansea.
This Foster Care Fortnight Admiral is raising awareness of the family friendly policies the company has in place, including a Foster Carers Policy which gives Admiral colleagues paid time off to attend any meetings or training during the approval process, and paid leave to settle a child when they first arrive.
The policy recognises the importance of having time to spend with a child or young person, to build a successful relationship.
Rhian Langham, Head of People at Admiral, said:
“We’re delighted to support our colleagues who wish to make a difference and change a child’s life, and we recognise the importance of supporting and retaining our valued people who may otherwise be facing the difficult decision to choose between work and foster caring.
Foster carers make an extremely valuable contribution to the lives of children and young people in care, and we work hard to create a working environment that supports and understands their needs from the very first steps and throughout the foster caring journey. We’re committed to supporting our colleagues and are proud to be a family friendly employer which continually looks at our offerings to ensure they apply to everyone.”
“We wouldn’t be able to look after the children if Admiral didn’t have this policy in place”
Anthony Hopkins and his wife Nichola have worked for Admiral for over 20 years. They’ve recently become foster carers with Foster Wales Swansea and have children living with them on a long-term basis.
“Our birth children have grown up, but we still wanted children around the house which is why we considered becoming foster carers. We wanted to foster with a local authority because it helps avoid further disruption to the children’s lives by helping maintain their relationships during an otherwise worrying time. The team at Foster Wales Swansea have provided us with expert advice throughout.
“We told our line managers at Admiral, and they’ve fully supported us through our fostering application and training journey, and they continue to support us as foster carers.”
“It was a quick turnaround for us, after the panel you normally wait around 2-3 weeks before you have a child with you, but an emergency situation came up and we were signed off and welcoming them within 48 hours!
“Admiral has been great and fully supportive, providing the understanding and flexibility we needed to settle the children in, enabling us to get the bedrooms ready so the children feel comfortable and safe in our home, and to also spend time with them.
“It’s been such a rewarding experience for us, despite only doing it for a short period so far. If I was ever to change jobs, then a supportive fostering policy or flexible working policy would 100% be something I’d look for at a company. We wouldn’t be able to look after the children and be there for them if Admiral didn’t have this policy in place.”
‘We need our community in Wales to step up’
Foster Wales is the national network of not-for-profit fostering services, comprising the 22 local authority teams in Wales. They support foster carers to continue to work, understanding that for many people, giving up their current career is not an option.
Cardiff, Swansea and Bridgend are the latest local authorities to offer additional leave and flexible working hours for staff who foster, joining Powys, Pembrokeshire, Neath Port Talbot, Flintshire and Wrexham.
Many more local authorities, who already offer flexible working hours, are reviewing their policies or looking to introduce similar fostering friendly policies later this year.
Head of Foster Wales, Alastair Cope, said:
“As the need for foster carers continues to grow, we need our community in Wales to step forward.
“We know that when children stay connected, stay local and have someone to stick by them for the long term, we see better outcomes.
“So, if employers in Wales can support their employees in becoming foster carers, local authorities can help more children stay connected to their roots and ultimately, support them towards better futures.”
To further Wales’ position as a Fostering Friendly nation, today the Welsh Government has also announced its Fostering Friendly status. Welsh Government employees will be able to take the time they need to welcome and settle a child from the local authority into their home, and fully support them throughout their time in their care.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer in Wales visit fosterwales.gov.wales
To become a Fostering Friendly employer, get in touch with The Fostering Network [email protected] to find out more.