As Welsh Government moves ahead with plans to remove profit from the care of looked-after children, Foster Wales Carmarthenshire highlights the benefits of fostering with a local authority.
Wales is in the process of a whole system change for children’s services.
The changes proposed in the 2021 co-operation agreement between Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru prioritise services that are locally based, locally designed, and locally accountable.
Within these plans there is a clear commitment to ‘eliminate private profit from the care of looked after children.’ This means, by 2027, care of children that are looked after in Wales will be provided by public sector, charitable or not-for-profit organisations.
In light of these changes, Foster Wales Carmarthenshire– which is part of the network representing Wales’ 22 local authorities – are calling for more people to become local authority foster carers and encouraging those currently fostering with a for-profit agency to transfer over to their local authority team.
Cllr. Jane Tremlett, Cabinet Member for Adult and Children’s Services, “Welsh local authority fostering services are at the forefront of the positive developments being driven forward by Welsh Government under their ‘eliminate’ agenda. The proposed changes give a clear statement about how we value looked after children in Wales, and it chimes perfectly with how we view children and the provision of their care in Carmarthenshire.
“Fostering for a local authority offers lots of benefits to both carer and to the children cared for, who get the opportunity of remaining in the county where they live, closer to family and friends. We want to expand our community of caring, loving foster carers so that more of Carmarthenshire’s children can remain in our county. Local people and local communities caring for and supporting local children. Please, join us today in providing the foundations for our most vulnerable children to thrive.”
In Wales, 79% of children cared for by private fostering agencies are fostered outside their local area, and 6% are moved out of Wales entirely. Meanwhile, 84% of those living with local authority foster carers stay within their own local area, close to home, to school, to family and friends.
Foster carer Jo, who made the switch from an independent agency to Foster Wales, earlier this year, explained her journey – and the difference she’s seen when fostering with the local authority:
“Shortly after I turned forty, I began fostering teenagers through an agency. A lot of the young people came from outside the area. This put them on the back foot. They lost contact with their friends, the places they knew, their roots.
“Now that I foster with a local authority, the young people stay local. This means they stay connected to their roots which helps them feel secure and it’s more natural for visits, access and family time.”