Every 15 minutes another child comes into care, needing a foster family in the UK. Every day there are about 70,000 children living with 56,000 foster families.
As families across the country struggle with the ongoing cost of living crisis, Foster Wales is calling on employers in Wales to become ‘fostering friendly’’ in hopes of addressing the misconception that you cannot continue working if you become a foster carer.
This Foster Care Fortnight (May 15-28), local authority fostering services in Wales are calling on the wider business community to lend their support and make it easier for their employees to combine fostering and working.
According to the Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity, nearly 40% of foster carers combine fostering with other work and their ‘fostering friendly’ policy encourages employers to provide flexibility and time off for employees who are prospective foster carers and are going through the application process.
The scheme also supports employees who are already foster carers, to allow time off for training, attendance at panels, to settle a new child into their home and to respond to any emergencies which may arise.
Having the support of an employer may make the vital difference in the decision of an employee to become a foster carer.
Alison from Wrexham is proof that working full time is not a barrier to becoming a foster carer. She made her dream of becoming a foster carer a reality in 2020 whilst continuing to work full time for Wrexham County Borough Council. She said: “I had always wanted to foster but I thought I was unsuitable as I was still working full time, single and over 50! But the team at Foster Wales Wrexham have been so encouraging from the start. There is a lot of flexibility.
“As I work for Wrexham Council, I get additional annual leave for fostering with my local authority, which I use to attend meetings, training and reviews. With the support from my own family, my social workers and the team at Foster Wales Wrexham, together, we have made fostering work for me.”
Cllr Rob Walsh, lead member for children’s social care, said: “The Fostering Friendly employers scheme is really important and offers businesses of any size the chance to make a difference for foster carers and the children they care for in, their local communities. It also improves support for their own employees at the same time.
“With so many foster carers who combine fostering with other work it is important for them to know they have a supportive employer to enable them to balance employment with caring for looked after children. I encourage employers in the county borough to look into ways they can become fostering friendly to help their employees make a difference to the lives of looked after children in Wrexham.”
Head of Foster Wales, Alastair Cope, added: “As the need for foster carers continues to grow, we need our community in Wales to step up.
“We know that when children stay connected, stay local and have someone to stick by them for the long term, we see better outcomes.
“So, if employers in Wales can support their employees in becoming foster carers, local authorities can help more children stay connected to their roots and ultimately, support them towards better futures.”
To find out more about becoming a foster carer in Wrexham visit: https://wrexham.fosterwales.gov.wales/
To discover more about becoming a fostering friendly employer in Wales visit: https://fosterwales.gov.wales/fostering-friendly-employers-in-wales/
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