Foster Care Fortnight with Colin Turner (The Fostering Network in Wales)
Foster Care FortnightTM is always a fantastic opportunity to come together to sing the praises of fostering for all to hear. It’s also a time when we reflect upon the great work being done to support foster carers to provide permanent, stable and aspiring homes for fostered children to ensure that those children receive the best possible experiences and life chances now and in the future. Thank you to all of you who are involved in this work – you are, as we’re saying during this year’s Foster Care Fortnight, changing futures.
As a foster carer and social worker for many years, I know first-hand that fostering can be challenging but also tremendously rewarding. For fostering to be successful in transforming children and young people’s lives and enabling them to have healthy fulfilling futures, foster carers need to feel valued and be well supported. That’s why, The Fostering Network in Wales is very proud of the work we are doing to make a real difference to the fostering community through the delivery of a range of services, programmes and projects.
Listening to those involved in fostering as to what can help make foster care the very best it can be in Wales is a crucial part of our work. Throughout the past year, we have engaged and consulted regularly with foster carers, social workers, and children and young people, as well as many others who play a crucial role in fostering. This is to be confident that the resources we produce and the services we provide are delivering what is really required to make a positive impact on the lives of fostered children.
We achieve a great deal of this work through our specific programmes of work such as Fostering Excellence, Confidence in Care and Fostering Wellbeing.
Our Fostering Excellence programme, now in its fourth year, continues to provide support and positive interventions, placing foster carers at the centre of the fostering team. Highlights of the programme include:
- working with local authorities to improve their recruitment and retention rates of foster carers
- the implementation of our Foster Carers’ Charter for Wales
- delivering our series of specialist masterclasses to foster carers, social workers and other colleagues across the fostering community in Wales
- working with care experienced young people from Wales to produce our popular magazine for looked after children – Thrive
- our youth ambassadors and foster carer ambassadors who champion fostering and ensure the opinions of foster carers and young people are heard, and help to influence and inform policy
- Fosterline Wales which provides information, advice, and factsheets on a variety of specialist fostering topics
- our comprehensive programme of learning and development for the whole fostering team to support children and young people to achieve their best possible outcomes.
Confidence in Care
Our Confidence in Care programme, run in partnership with Action for Children, Barnardo’s, and TACT, aims to improve the life chances of looked after children in Wales by decreasing the number of times they move between foster families. It also seeks to raise aspirations and achievements in children and young people’s education and future career goals, increase their resilience and life skills, and use evaluation evidence to influence future policy development in Wales. In the first four years the programme has engaged with more than 850 foster carers.
Our Fostering Wellbeing programme aims to help all participants, irrespective of professional status, to identify the core values and principles which will help children and young people who are looked after to thrive. These can then be shared among all members of the fostering team to create a common approach to fostering.
It’s been another busy year and I’d like to thank everyone in the fostering community for their drive, passion and enthusiasm for all that is done to improve outcome for children looked after. My thanks particularly go to all foster carers who can and do make a huge difference. For many young people, it just takes one person to truly believe in them to turn their fortunes around. Foster carers do this every day, and do #changeafuture
Colin Turner, Director - The Fostering Network in Wales