Wales needs more people to become foster carers, Minister for Children, Huw Irranca-Davies said today.
To mark the start of Foster Care Fortnight, the Minister has written a personal letter to every foster carer in Wales, asking them to help inspire others to consider fostering.
There are currently more than 4,400 children in foster care in Wales. The average age of foster carers is 55, and local authorities need to recruit more foster carers from a wide variety of backgrounds and age.
The Welsh Government has put significant investment over the past three years into the development of National Fostering Framework for Wales (£400k in 2017-18), which is now being implemented across all regions. Similar funding in 2018-19 has gone into the Revenue Support Grant for local authorities.
One of the key aims of the framework is to encourage more people to foster, especially with local authorities fostering services, and to develop a national brand and marketing strategy supported by regional approaches to recruitment and retention.
Foster Care Fortnight 2018 runs from 14th to 27th May.
Huw Irranca-Davies said:
“I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for all foster carers do in caring and supporting some of our most vulnerable children and young people.
“I have met many foster carers and am always deeply impressed with the dedication and commitment that I see, even while I know that fostering is often a very challenging task.
“I have also had the pleasure of speaking to young people who have experienced care, who have talked to me about how their foster families have supported them, not just by providing a home but with a family environment where they can feel safe, grow and thrive.
“Foster families also help them prepare for the future and achieve their personal outcomes. Fostered young people have told me how their foster carers have helped them to consider opportunities in further education and employment, or given them the confidence to follow other ambitions. What an incredible testimony to the work of the thousands of foster carers and their families here in Wales.
“So I want to say Thank you. What they do is so important for our society and, in particular, the children and young people you are caring for.”