Rhondda Cynon Taf Foster Carers’ Stories Show Everyone Can ‘bring something to the table’ to Support Local Children in Care
A new campaign aims to inspire people from all walks of life to consider fostering with their local authority.
There are more than 7,000 children in the care system in Wales, but only 3,800 foster families.
There are currently 368 children in local authority foster care in RCT, but we need another 163 foster homes at the moment.
This week, Foster Wales – the national network of 22 Welsh local authority fostering teams – 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 RCT 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.
“We already had all the skills we needed to become foster carers – and more people need to know they have the skills too”
Hear from our foster carers, Tracy and Lee:
Tracy and Lee have been foster carers with Foster Wales RCT for over 20 years. It’s safe to say they have a wealth of knowledge about fostering, and they are both pioneer carers – a foster carer role who supports other carers.
“Being flexible is essential to the role of a foster carer. The ability to give care to a range of different children and young people who all are individuals, with different needs. You wear a lot of hats as a foster carer, and sometimes the ability to reach out and ask for support, or ask questions is an overlooked skill, but one that is extremely important.
“We’ve learned a lot along the way, and we really feel like we are making a difference to young people’s lives. We plant the seeds and watch them grow.
“For us, it’s a blessing to help these young people reach their potential and thrive in life.”
Wales is leading the way in children’s services
Currently, Wales is in the process of a whole system change for children’s services.
The changes proposed in the 2021 co-operation agreement between Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru made a clear commitment to ‘eliminate private profit from the care of looked after children.’
This means, by 2027, care of children that are looked after in Wales will be provided by public sector, charitable or not-for-profit organisations, and the need for local authority foster carers is greater than ever.
Annabel Lloyd, Head of Children’s Services at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said:
“Our wonderful local authority foster carers do an incredible job in supporting children in RCT. By offering their life experience, skills, empathy and kindness, they ensure these children feel safe and secure.
“We need more amazing people in our area to foster, ensuring that all local children have a welcoming and local home, and the right foster carer for them.
“When you foster with Foster Wales RCT, you will have a dedicated specialist network around you to ensure you have knowledge and support, as well as a brilliant learning and development package. Our fostering team, and other experienced foster carers, will guide you on your fostering journey so 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 RCT.”
The campaign began on Monday 8 January across TV, streaming services, radio, digital, social media, and with various events in local communities across Wales.
For more information about fostering, or to make an enquiry, visit: www.rct.fosterwales.gov.wales
For more information, interviews, or media requests, please contact: Jo Reeves, Joanna.firstname.lastname@example.org