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Campaign launched to find 800 new foster carers in Wales

A campaign has been launched to find homes for children in the care home system in Wales.

Latest figures show there are more than 7,000 children in the care system in Wales, but only 3,800 foster families. Foster Wales, the national network of 22 Welsh local authority fostering teams, aims to recruit over 800 new foster families by 2026.

Foster Wales Torfaen has joined the new ‘bring something to the table’ campaign, by utilising their greatest asset – current foster carers – to share their realistic experiences of foster 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 highlighted three key things stopping potential carers from enquiring, including:

  • 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.

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.

Torfaen foster carers Tracy and Richard Perry began fostering in October 2017 and have since fostered three children, including two siblings who remain in their care.

Tracy said: “What we take for granted, some of the children have not experienced, such as going on holidays. Just doing fun things together makes a big difference to a child’s life.

“From that first time they walked through the door, scared, and now they realise what family life is like – there is nothing more rewarding than seeing their little faces light up and how they have changed.”

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.

Jason O’Brien, Torfaen Council’s strategic director for children and families services, said: “Our local authority foster carers 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 Torfaen, it ensures you have access to dedicated local knowledge and support, a brilliant 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 dear.”

The ‘bring something to the table’ campaign will feature 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 call 01495 766669 or visit the Foster Wales Torfaen website.

Posted inNews

Campaign launched to find 800 new foster carers in Wales

a fostering poster
Image: Torfaen Council