Cymraeg icon Cymraeg
Foster Care Fortnight poster with pic of family on beach

Foster Wales Pembrokeshire calls on local employers to support foster carers

Maethu Cymru Sir Benfro yn galw ar gyflogwyr lleol i gefnogi gofalwyr maeth

Employers are being urged to become ‘fostering friendly’ this Foster Care Fortnight as every day in Wales there are five children in need of foster care. 

In Pembrokeshire there are more than 240 children in the care of the local authority but only around 60 foster carers who are able to offer them the stable and loving homes that they deserve - whether that be for a few days, months or several years.

As families across the country struggle with the ongoing cost of living crisis, Foster Wales, the national network of 22 local authority fostering services in 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 TM (15th-28th May), The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity, and local authority fostering services in Wales are asking 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, allowing time off for training, attendance at panels, to settle a new child into their home and to respond to any emergencies which may arise.

Having the support of an employer may make the vital difference in the decision of an employee to become a foster carer.

Cllr Tessa Hodgson, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Care said: “Encouraging local employers to be fostering friendly is one of many things we are doing to support our foster carers in Pembrokeshire.

“We know that when children stay connected, stay local and have someone to stick by them for the long term, we see better outcomes. 

“If employers in Pembrokeshire can support their employees to become foster carers, we can help more children stay local, connected to their communities, and ultimately, to achieve better futures.”

Pembrokeshire County Council employs more than 6,000 people and supports local authority foster carers who work for the council.

Melany Evans, Service Manager for Children in Care said: “As the local authority we are responsible for all children who need foster care, and we as corporate parents can support local authority foster carers who also work for the council by offering some flexibility and support in the workplace.”

Vanessa, Matthew and James Jones started fostering four years ago.

Vanessa said: “One of the best decisions we ever made was to foster for Pembrokeshire. Long term fostering suits us as a family as we are able to show young people a happy, loving and supportive environment. 

“The joy you feel when a child achieves something new is massively rewarding.  Fostering siblings is even more rewarding as we can keep them together. They become part of the family and the wider local community.”

Foster Wales

Michelle Christopher and her family have been providing care to children and young people for the last four years. She combines fostering with working four days a week as a store keeper with the army, by offering weekends and short breaks to children, providing them with fun experiences and esteem building activities. 

“I enjoy giving the children a nice weekend creating fun memories for them (and me!),” she said.

Her daughter Elise, added: “The positive aspect of being a foster family are that we can provide a safe, loving and warm environment for a child who may not have experienced such before.

“We can show them what it’s like to have a stable home, teach them how to be a well-rounded person and give them experiences that they may have missed out on in earlier childhood.”

Foster Wales 2

Tony and Elaine Lunt who have been fostering for 36 years said: “Sharing our home with children and young adults has been a challenging and rewarding adventure that has given us lots of great times.”

The Foster Wales Pembrokeshire Team will be out and about round the county during Foster Care Fortnight TM so if you want to find out more about the different types of fostering available and how you might be able to help children and young people in Pembrokeshire, there are details on Facebook about when and where to pop along for a chat.

Or call 01437 774650 or visit the Pembrokeshire Foster Wales website.

Nicky Sandford, Foster Wales Regional Development Manager for Mid and West Wales is encouraging local employers to find out more about how to become fostering friendly and helping local authority fostering services to further develop the support they offer to new and existing foster carers.

This can include flexible working, transferable learning and skills and peer support, email to find out more. 

Notes to editors

Some of the foster carers quoted are happy to speak further with the media if you wish. Contact Katy Jenkins for information.