July 19, 2024

Foster carers’ stories show everyone can ‘bring something to the table’ to support local children in care

There are more than 7,000 children in the care system in Wales, but only 3,800 foster families.

There are currently around 180 children in foster care in Denbighshire and more foster carers are needed to ensure that children can stay in their local community.

Maethu Cymru / Foster Wales – the national network of 22 Welsh local authority fostering teams – has set out with the bold aim of recruiting over 800 new foster families by 2026, to provide welcoming homes for local children and young people.

Foster Wales Denbighshire has joined the new campaign, ‘bring something to the table,’ utilising their greatest asset – current foster carers – to share realistic experiences of foster care and explore the small but significant human attributes people possess that can make the world of difference to a young person in care.

Foster Wales has spoken to over 100 people to develop the campaign– including foster carers, social workers, teachers, members of the public, and care leavers.

The responses from these groups highlighted three key things stopping potential carers from enquiring:

  • A lack of confidence in their skills and ability to support a child in care.
  • The belief that fostering doesn’t fit with certain lifestyles.
  • Misconceptions around the criteria to become a carer.

Armed with this knowledge, Foster Wales has drawn on real stories of carers in Wales to show that local authority fostering is flexible, inclusive, and comes with extensive training and professional development opportunities.

Sharen and Colin have been fostering with their local authority Foster Wales Denbighshire for 23 years. They have focussed mainly on fostering teenagers as they feel teenagers are often overlooked within Foster Care with the perception that they are more difficult to manage.

Sharen said:

‘’We have fostered many teenagers over the years and really thrive off the rewards that come from fostering teenagers. Teenagers are often misunderstood and come into care at a time when they are very aware of what’s going on.

People think that teenagers are complicated and although they come with their challenges, the right guidance, stability, and security provided to a teenager can really help to shape their futures.

We have recently seen one of our foster children go to university. Another has got a full-time job, saved, and bought their own car. Watching them reach milestones, gain independence, and develop into caring, confident adults has been hugely rewarding for us as a family.’’

Councillor Gill German, Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Education, Children and Families said:

“It’s always a privilege to meet our Foster Wales Denbighshire foster carers and to get to know them and their stories better. No two stories are the same, but what they all have in common is a will to provide a secure and stable home and offer the care and support our children need. Foster Wales Denbighshire is an amazing team, and I encourage anyone interested in finding out more about fostering to get in touch.”

Julie Fisher, Foster Wales Denbighshire Team Manager added:

“Our local authority foster carers in Foster Wales Denbighshire do an incredible job, supporting children by offering their skills, experience, empathy and kindness to ensure they feel safe and secure.

But we need to recruit more amazing people in our area to ensure that all local children who need it have a welcoming home and the right foster carer for them.

When you foster with Foster Wales Denbighshire the team will provide dedicated, local knowledge and support, an excellent learning and development package and more importantly, you can help children stay in their own local community, close to friends, their school and everything they hold close.

We encourage anyone who wants to make a difference to a child’s life to bring their skills and experience to the table and get in contact with Foster Wales Denbighshire. Become part of your local fostering community.”

For more information about fostering, or to make an enquiry, visit: https://denbighshire.fosterwales.gov.wales/en/home.aspx