Bridgend County Borough Council is appealing for local people from all walks of life, who have a genuine interest in helping vulnerable children and young people to consider fostering.
Have your children left home to go to university or college?
This time of year is a period of very mixed emotions for parents whose children have ‘flown the nest’. You will be very proud that you have brought them up to become confident, independent young people who are ready to move onto the next stage of their lives.
However, you may also be missing the hustle and bustle of a lively family home and the close connection you have had with your children, in their day-to-day lives.
Many children, through no fault of their own, have not been so fortunate, and have had a difficult start in life.
Did you know that there are over 6,000 children and young people currently in the care of local authorities across Wales, 395 of whom are in Bridgend County Borough? They are urgently looking for the kind of family life and experiences that you are able to offer.
Fostering is one way of making an amazing contribution to society, but more importantly, it gives you the chance to make a real difference to the life of a young person.
It’s difficult to under-estimate the impact that good foster carers can have in helping a young person turn their life around, supporting them in creating opportunities to achieve and succeed in ways they might never have thought possible.
The council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help, Councillor Nicole Burnett, said: “We are encouraging anyone with a genuine empathy for children and young people in our local area to foster.
“Fostering is about providing a safe and secure family environment at a crucial point in a young person’s life. Because you may have raised a family that has grown-up and moved on, you will already know what it is like to care for a child through the typical range of age-related behaviours. You know what it is like to need patience and how much energy is involved in really caring for young people facing today’s challenges.
“You do not need to be married or in a relationship to foster and your sexual orientation does not make a difference to becoming a foster carer either. All you need is patience, understanding and a genuine commitment to helping a young person at a difficult time in their lives.”
Lorraine is a single parent who has four adult children and six grandchildren. She recently joined the Bridgend Fostering team to offer respite and short-term placements to vulnerable children living in Bridgend County Borough.
Lorraine said: “I have always been interested in fostering, but I never had the space before. Now that three of my children have grown-up and left home, I thought now was the perfect time to help children who desperately need some love and support.
“It also fits around my job as a supply teacher, which is why I decided to offer support to teenagers. I’ve had three short-term placements to date, and they have all settled in really well.
“Because of my background of working with young people and also being a parent to all four of my children, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make. In fact, it seemed like a natural step for me.
“I’ve been used to having children in the house for so many years; it just wouldn’t be the same without them.
“I am here to listen, guide and support young people and I enjoy it. If I can make a difference to a young person’s life, even in the short-term, then I’m more than happy to do it.
“I’ve recently moved into my father’s house, which is quite spacious. My father loved his children and grandchildren and I believe he would be delighted to see me helping other children too!”
You can find out more about fostering at www.bridgend.gov.uk/fostering
Or by attending one of our fostering virtual meet and greets, taking place on the following dates:
- Wednesday 21 October at 6pm
- Sunday 25 October at 10am
You will need to register your interest by emailing: [email protected] and a link to the meeting will be sent to you.
People who foster with us are offered full training, a financial allowance, extensive support and access to other foster carers – including support groups.