Fostering Solutions Wales covers a large geographical area, however despite this, staff get to know every foster carer and the children they look after and this is something the foster carers appreciate and value. Many of the foster carers have been with Fostering Solutions Wales for a long time – some for over 18 years. Even foster carers who are no longer with the agency continue to recommend prospective foster carers to us, reflecting the strong relationships built between the agency and its carers.
Fostering Solutions Wales benefits from being a local agency that is familiar with the different culture, language and systems operating in Wales, as well as being part of a large national group. This gives it a strong local presence, backed by a wide range of resources, such as training and therapeutic support.
Everything we do is about the children and that’s the way it should be. Even though we do not work directly with them day in and out as the foster carers do, nevertheless they are at the hub of all that we do. We work hard to support our fostering families so they can support the children in turn. All staff are well trained and registered with Social Care Wales and abide by its code of conduct.
Julie Grant, Registered Manager
The agency is proud of the support it offers to foster carers and children. Supervising social workers hold regular support groups in their area and foster carers also have their own informal support groups. Foster children and birth children are encouraged to mix at combined support groups and new foster carers are buddied with more experienced carers who can provide advice and guidance. Everyone is invited to join activities, events and celebrations and there is a positive network of fostering friends.
Out of hours, supervising social workers are on hand to provide support, which means that foster carers can speak to someone who knows them rather than having to talk to a stranger. The registered manager also makes herself available for out of hours support and queries – “I never turn my phone off” she explains.
All foster carers are now being offered training in therapeutic parenting, alongside a range of other specialist training designed to equip carers with the skills they need to achieve the best outcomes for children.
The team’s approach is a holistic one. It believes in caring for its fostering families as a whole, rather than focusing solely on foster children. By supporting the extended family, the agency believes it can provide a solid base for foster children to thrive in. This same attitude extends throughout the staff team. If a colleague needs additional help or support, other members of the team collaborate to provide it. Throughout the pandemic, the entire team went above and beyond to provide support for foster carers, for children and for each other.