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.
We are well known for being an agency who support the whole fostering family. We pride ourselves on being a local agency with a good understanding of Welsh cultural needs and even though we are part of a bigger organisation, we provide a service at a local level. Our staff get to know the fostering families they work in partnership with and support them every step of their fostering journey. The team provide high levels of support to achieve better outcomes for children and young people. We work in partnership with local authorities to offer choice with the type of services required.
Julie Grant, Registered Manager
Our last inspection report commented “Children, young people and foster carers receive a good service from this agency which is committed to quality assurance and constant improvement. The agency knows the children and young people well and there is regular contact with foster carers who spoke highly about the support they received saying staff were excellent and ‘there is always someone at the end of the phone if needed
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.
Fostering Solutions in Wales hold quarterly foster carer forums where foster carers can share ideas and evaluate how they wish the service to be delivered. The wishes and feelings of fostering families are very important to us and we strive to create openness and transparency which encourages sharing of new ideas and reviewing what already exists. All fostering families have access to the Fostering Network which offers independent advice, information and support to foster carers and their families.
At Fostering Solutions we hold foster carer support groups across the region and everyone is welcomed at all venues. We often link the meetings to Breakfast Clubs, and Afternoon Tea events and we invite guest speakers and present information forums.
All fostering families have access to the Fostering Network for independent advice and support, the service is open to all foster carers and their families.