WHILST Welsh Government moves ahead with plans to remove profit from the care of looked-after children, Foster Wales Bridgend highlights the benefits of fostering with a local authority.
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 prioritise services that are locally based, locally designed, and locally accountable.
Within these plans there is 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.
In light of these changes, Foster Wales Bridgend – which is part of the network representing Wales’ 22 local authorities – are calling for more people to become local authority foster carers and encouraging those currently fostering with a for-profit agency to transfer over to their local authority team.
Bridgend County Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Social Services and Health, Councillor Jane Gebbie said:
“Wales is leading the way; this policy offers a huge opportunity to make a long-lasting, positive change to the care of young people in Wales – benefitting looked-after young people today, and in the future.
“Our local communities are key to making this change happen.
“By joining Foster Wales Bridgend, your local authority fostering team, you’ll receive continuous training opportunities, ongoing support, as well as the chance to be part of a wonderful community. Most importantly, children and young people will be able to remain in their local areas, near their place of education, support networks and people they know – something unique to local authority fostering.
“You’ll also be safe in the knowledge that Foster Wales Bridgend has never focused on profit, and always on the best care for children and young people in your communities.
“We’re always on the lookout for caring, considerate and committed people that could help improve our children’s lives and their futures!”
In Wales, 79 per cent of children cared for by private fostering agencies are fostered outside their local area, and 6 per cent are moved out of Wales entirely. Meanwhile, 84 per cent of those living with local authority foster carers stay within their own local area, close to home, to school, to family and friends.
Foster carer Teresa, who made the switch from an independent agency to Foster Wales Bridgend, explained her journey – and the difference she’s seen when fostering with the local authority:
“We transferred because we felt there were too many people involved in our previous agency, and we didn’t have enough help and support. Fostering with your local authority you have plenty of support and advice.
“There have been so many activities for children; golf days, police dog and horse days, fire station visits, Santa visits, summer fetes, parties. We also have coffee mornings, recognition award ceremonies, and regular training courses for foster carers.
“We foster a child with severe behavioural difficulties and were told we could not foster other children. When we transferred to Bridgend local authority, they helped us to get him assessed so we knew best how to support him. We now have four children with us, and we cannot thank Foster Wales Bridgend enough for everything that they have done for us.”
For more information about fostering, and how to transfer, visit:https://bridgend.fosterwales.gov.wales/already-fostering/[email protected]