Fostering

Fostering

Categories: News , Social Work , Fostering

This year's Foster Care Fortnight is taking place from Monday 16 to Sunday 29 May. The Fostering Network's annual campaign aims to raise the profile of fostering and recruit foster carers, and the theme this year is "Time to foster, time to care'. As the campaign is getting in full swing, our Director of Marketing and associate, Jane Moore, talks about her experience about fostering, how this has shaped her career, and her work for the National Fostering Framework.

My personal experience and understanding about what happens to children who can’t be looked after by their parents goes way back to my own childhood. I was 7 years old, living in Cardiff with my mum and dad, and elder brother John aged 11. One Sunday morning, we had a phone call to say some relatives of my mother’s who lived in the Midlands had both been killed in a car accident. Their 11-year-old daughter, Jill, had been in the back of the car; she survived the accident. I had only met Jill once before at a family wedding some months previously. My mum and dad offered Jill a home and a few weeks later Jill arrived. Her life and our lives were never the same again, and we all had to make substantial changes, which weren’t always easy, but some 55 years later Jill is still very much part of our family. I love her dearly and consider her, in every sense, to be my sister.

I guess this was my first experience of children without parents and was instrumental in me deciding to become a social worker. How do children manage when their parents disappear along with their home, their school, their friends and their pets? The trauma that children must experience I still find difficult to comprehend. During my 40+ year career in children’s’ services I have always had a particular interest in fostering and adoption. During the last few years, I have had the privilege of being the Project Manager for the National Adoption Service and now for the National Fostering Framework (NFF).

The work of the NFF has involved bringing together key stakeholders from all sectors to begin the work of bringing to life what a NFF might look like. Voices from Care have facilitated some great interactive workshops with children and young people; Fostering Network have facilitated a consultation programme with foster carers; and AFA Cymru helped organise an all-Wales event for local authority staff and their public service partners. These organisations plus Welsh Government, WLGA, ADSS Cymru, Public Health Wales, including CAMHS, CASCADE, Action for Children, the 4Cs, NYAS Cymru, the Data Unit, and Children in Wales have all shared their expertise and wisdom to make sure that the changes that will be made to the delivery of our fostering services in Wales will improve outcomes for children. The work programme of the NFF is part of Welsh Government’s work programme to ‘Improve Outcomes for Children’.

The NFF work programme for Phase One 2015–16 has now been completed and an impressive report has been published (courtesy of Practice Solutions!). The Phase One report (English|Welsh) contains a number of recommendations for 2016–17 and I am confident that, with the continued involvement of all the key partners, our progress in improving our fostering services to achieve better outcomes for those children who cannot be looked after by their parents will continue.

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