foster wales calls on Welsh employers in Gwent to support foster carers
Foster Wales calls on Welsh employers in Gwent to support foster carers.
Nearly 5000 children were in foster care in Wales last year. We urgently need more people to foster for their local authority so that we can support children and young people to stay in their local communities.
As families across the country struggle with the ongoing cost of living crisis, Foster Wales is calling on employers in Wales to become ‘fostering friendly’, in the hope of addressing the misconception that you cannot continue working if you become a foster carer.
This Foster Care Fortnight © (15th-28th May 2023), The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity, and local authority fostering services in Wales are calling on the wider business community to lend their support and make it easier for their employees to combine fostering and working.
According to the Fostering Network, nearly 40% of foster carers combine fostering with other work and their ‘fostering friendly’ policy encourages employers to provide flexibility and time off for employees who are prospective foster carers and are going through the application process.
The scheme also supports employees who are already foster carers, to allow time off for training, attendance at foster panel and meetings, to settle a new child into their home and to respond to any emergencies which may arise.
Having the support of an employer could make that vital difference in the decision of an employee to apply to become a foster carer.
Head of Foster Wales, Alastair Cope, said:
“As the need for foster carers continues to grow, we need our community in Wales to step up.
“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.”
Last year in Gwent there were 1115 children in foster care, but the number is growing year on year. We are struggling to recruit and retain foster carers due to factors such as the rising cost of living and the aging population of foster carers.
This Foster Care Fortnight (15th-28th May 2023), we’re engaging in a number of local and regional fostering events to encourage local businesses to become fostering friendly.
Fostering teams from Torfaen, Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, and Newport local authorities are approaching local businesses with specially created Foster Wales paper chain people which symbolise fostering communities and working together to create better futures for local children. Our aim is to make this the first step in building lasting relationships with businesses across Gwent.
The world around us is constantly changing and fostering needs to adapt to these changes. We want to support our community of foster carers who work and foster and encourage younger people, who often can’t or don’t want to sacrifice their careers, to consider becoming foster carers. With the support of their employers, they could combine working commitments with fostering. For this we need as many businesses as possible to consider becoming fostering friendly employers.
Alison Ramshaw, Lead Head of Children’s Services for Foster Wales across Gwent said:
“Last year has certainly been challenging for all of us, but we’ve seen a lot of compassion and commitment from our fantastic foster carers. They have opened their homes to children and continue to do so, despite many struggles and difficulties related to the cost-of-living crisis. We want to say a big thank you and convey our appreciation for everything they’ve done.
Reaching out to local employers to be fostering friendly is one of many things we are doing to support our foster carers. Fostering must adapt to the unusual circumstances we all find ourselves in and we’re hoping that, by becoming fostering friendly, businesses across Gwent will help us encourage more people to become foster carers. By working together, we can support foster carers and in turn improve the lives of local children who need safe and loving homes. “
Foster Wales is your local authority, not for profit fostering service. As a local authority foster carer, you could help children remain in their local area, close to their friends and family and stay in their school wherever possible. This can help them maintain their sense of identity and belonging during a time of transition.
Your local authority is responsible for every child who is in foster care. Your local Foster Wales team are the experts and support foster carers every step of the way with their wealth of knowledge and dedicated social workers who work together with a whole team around the child.
Would your employer be interested in supporting foster carers, by introducing a flexible work HR policy?
If your workplace could be fostering friendly, let us know.
To become a fostering friendly employer or find out more about the scheme, get in touch with The Fostering Network firstname.lastname@example.org.