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Gwynedd North Wales Politics

Foster Wales calling on employers to support and become ‘fostering friendly’

Cyngor Gwynedd foster care appeal

EVERY day in Wales there are five children in need of foster care.

As families across the country struggle with the ongoing cost of living crisis, Foster Wales is calling on employers in Gwynedd – and across Wales –  to become ‘fostering friendly’.

Cyngor Gwynedd is backing the initiative, and hopes to help address “a misconception” that people are unable to continue working if  they become foster carers.

As part of Foster Care Fortnight (May 15- 28) the local authority’s fostering services are calling on the wider business community to  support and make it easier for employees to combine fostering and work.

The council cites the Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity, which reports that nearly 40% of foster carers combine fostering with other work.

A ‘Fostering friendly’ policy aims to encourages employers to provide flexibility and time off for prospective foster carer employees going through the application process.

The scheme also supports employees who are already foster carers by allowing time off for training, attendance at panels, time to settle a new child into their home and to respond to any emergencies which may arise.

Marian Parry Hughes, Head of Children and Family Support Department at Cyngor Gwynedd said: “Reaching out to local employers to be fostering friendly is one of many things we are doing to support our foster carers in Gwynedd.

“Maethu Cymru Gwynedd has recently launched the Foster Carers Charter to show how we respect the foster carer role, empower foster carers in day-to-day decision-making and value vital knowledge of the child as part of our team.”

One example given is ‘Manon and Deio’ who work full time as well as being part time foster carers in Gwynedd by offering short breaks.

“We work as full-time teachers and foster children at weekends and during school holidays to offer parents a short break and give local children with disabilities new experiences,” said Manon.

“Fostering is flexible, there is no pressure and we get to choose how often we offer the service. It is a privilege to have children to stay with us and to be part of our family. Helping families and making a difference to the lives of local children is so rewarding.”

Head of Foster Wales, Alastair Cope, added: “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.”

To find out more about becoming a foster carer in Gwynedd visit: https://maethucymru.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/

To find out more about being a fostering friendly employer in Wales visit: https://fosterwales.gov.wales/fostering-friendly-employers-in-wales/