Foster Wales 'Time is Right'
In a brand new series of vlogs, foster carers from across Wales have come together to explore the reasons, life experiences and changes that led to them becoming carers.
The six-episode series will allow potential Foster carers to recognise the valuable life experiences they already possess, which could help them become well-rounded and supportive foster carers in their communities.
The series has been produced by Foster Wales, the national network of not-for-profit fostering services, comprising the 22 local authority teams in Wales.
The episodes will be released weekly on the Foster Wales website, social media and You Tube channels, and capture an honest and open conversation between foster carers from all walks of life.
The conversations were recorded in December 2022, with experienced journalist and presenter Mai Davies hosting the chats.
In one particularly moving episode Cath from Denbighshire discusses her journey through the adoption process after finding she and her husband could not have biological children of their own.
After adopting, they realised they had a lot more to give in terms of love and care, and so made the decision to apply to become foster carers.
Cath says she’s aware that some people have an idea in their head of what a foster carer looks like.
“I think people’s perception of being a foster carer is something that they’re not.
“A lot of people say when you’re out and about, ‘I’d love to be a foster carer but I’m not sure’ and I always say, ring up and ask, nobody will ever knock on your door and ask if you want to be a foster carer.
“Some of these children have had experiences by the age of 5 that people will never have in their lives, and it’s just having that empathy, understanding and non-judgemental attitude really.”
Meanwhile Jenny from Flintshire began fostering when she was 66 after her husband passed away, after initially thinking she may be too old.
Now, Jenny thinks her age has advantages for fostering.
“Where I live, the children on the street will play with the children who come to me, and they’ll say, ‘is that your Nan?’ And course, they say yes because it’s easier, they then don’t have to explain and say well no actually it’s a foster carer looking after me because that’s awkward.
“They see me as a kind of grandma-type figure, and I do spoil them quite a bit because that’s what grandmas are for.”
Jenny also speaks warmly about the level of support available from the local authority and also the foster care community.
“People don’t understand the level of support, it’s not just about social workers supporting you, it’s about other foster carers supporting you because you make friends within the community.
“Other people with different experiences will be able to advise you how to work with particular children because they’ve met similar children before.”
David and his wife from Conwy County have fostered for Foster Wales Conwy for 10 years. He feels that he was at a stage in his life wondering what he was going to do next, and feels that fostering has given him a sense of fulfilment.
“Generally, looking back over the 10 years, it has enhanced my life, I know that.
“I mean there’s a lot of downs, and there’s a lot of ups to it.
“I really do buy into the fact that you are looking after children who need somebody, I mean all children do. They need our help there’s no questions about it. I still get a good feeling out of it.
“A little boy we had, I thought I’ll take him for a team game, I’ll take him to play rugby and found out he became one of the top players of the team. The coach said he’s an absolute credit to our side, and I thought, I took him to that, I planted that seed.
“Anyone taking the leap or thinking about it, I would definitely say go for it. Find out the information from your local authority as soon as you can. I enjoy what I do and can’t think of anything else I’d rather do now. I love fostering.”
Head of Foster Wales, Alastair Cope, said:
"We have foster carers from all walks of life caring for our children within Foster Wales.
“We need people from different backgrounds, cultures and with a variety of life experiences to foster because we have a diverse range of children needing that care, support and love within our local authorities - children who need the opportunity to thrive and stay in their own local communities. That's what fostering for your local authority is all about.
Whether you've thought about fostering recently or for the last ten years we'd love to ask you to contact your local Foster Wales team. We'll help you consider if the time is right for you and support you every step of the way throughout your fostering journey."
To find out more about fostering in Wales, visit https://fosterwales.gov.wales/
Posted on 24/01/2023