Posted on: Thursday 15 July 2021
Local Authority fostering services in Wales have today joined forces to become ‘Foster Wales’.
Teams across the nation will combine their efforts and expertise to significantly increase the number and diversity of Local Authority foster carers.
Despite over a third (39%) of Welsh adults claiming they have considered becoming a foster carer, there is still a need to recruit an estimated 550 new foster carers and families across Wales every year. This is to keep up with the numbers of children who need care and support, whilst replacing carers who retire or are able to provide a permanent home to children.
The new national network, ‘Foster Wales’ brings together the 22 not-for-profit Local Authority fostering teams across Wales. With decades of experience, they work together and share information and expertise to make a significant national impact on the futures of young people.
Launching Foster Wales Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan MS, said: “It is fantastic to be launching Foster Wales. I know from listening to foster carers just how rewarding fostering can be. This new initiative will benefit looked after children and allow Local Authority fostering and recruitment teams across Wales to think bigger, creating a national impact without losing their advantage of specific local expertise.”
“This government is committed to reducing the number of children in care, giving care experienced children better outcomes and importantly eliminating the profit element of children in care.
Foster Wales is part of achieving this promise and will better enable children to stay in their community and meet the evolving needs of foster children and the people who foster them.”
Across Wales, every child in need of a foster carer is in the care of their Local Authority, so continually forming relationships within their local communities will help Foster Wales enable children to stay in their local area when it’s right for them.
Local Authority teams already share information through regular contact, but just over a quarter (26%) of adults in Wales mistakenly believe fostering services delivered by councils probably aren’t very well joined up across the country.
The move to unify the 22 Local Authority fostering services under the Foster Wales name therefore seeks to reassure and do justice to the pan-Wales work being undertaken.
Executive Member for Children, Families and Communities, Cllr Fiona Cross said, “Torfaen County Borough Council aims to keep Children Looked After within our local communities and reduce the number of out of county placements. We strive to give every Child Looked After the best opportunities to thrive within Torfaen and to place our children with local carers.
In order to achieve this, we need to significantly increase the number and diversity of foster carers approved by the Local Authority. This will enable us to find the right fostering family for each child/young person and is key to meeting our ultimate goal of building brighter futures for the children and young people in our care. By keeping our children in Torfaen, they can remain connected with their family and friends, continue to attend their school and maintain their identity.
By working with Foster Wales, we increase our opportunity to offer children a home that meets their needs, within their local community and with access to expert local support and learning and development opportunities, to equip foster carers for the exciting journey ahead.”
Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru, Heads of Children’s Services member Tanya Evans, said, “Becoming a foster carer is a decision to help make a real difference to the lives of children. There are hundreds of children across Wales right now who have a right to thrive and need somebody in their community to support and believe in them.
“Dispelling the myths surrounding foster care is a key task. For example, no two children are the same and neither is the foster care they need. There is no ‘typical’ foster family.
“Whether you own your own home or rent, whether you’re married or single. Whatever your gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or faith, there are young people in your community who need someone on their side.
“All we need is more people like you to open their doors and welcome them in.”
To find out more about Local Authority fostering in Wales, visit fosterwales.gov.wales / maethucymru.llyw.cymru