What is Foster Care?

Foster care is the placement of children and/or young people with approved couples or individuals, either for a short period of time or as part of a longer term agreement. These individuals or couples must be registered foster carers to work with the team at Calon Cymru Fostering, having been deemed safe and responsible by a local authority or an independent fostering agency, to take in a single child or multiple children and siblings.

“A great life starts with a stable home.”

Becoming a foster carer is a balance of challenges and rewards. But with the right team behind you and a little understanding of what exactly you can bring to a vulnerable child or a young person in need, fostering can become a valuable and rewarding path for anyone.

The fostering system places children and young people from all walks of life with families and foster carers who not only have space in their homes, but space in their hearts to support and nurture them. So much of the process at a fostering agency is about giving children the guidance they need to tackle life’s challenges and fulfil their potential – whether that be through a single night placement before they return home, a short break, or a long term placement that sees them into adulthood and beyond.

For so many foster carers at Calon Cymru fostering agency, this process isn’t just a role to take on – it’s a lifestyle. And we’re here to guide you through every step of your fostering journey.

Understanding the fostering process

Here at Calon Cymru Fostering, we work to present a united front across each key location in Wales – pairing vulnerable children with the foster carers and foster parents who we think might be best suited to them. For some this will mean placing them in close proximity to their birth parents or birth family, while for others it might mean placing them in a location which allows them to retain elements of an existing routine such as school, extracurricular activities, and friendship groups.

With Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, and Carmarthen just four of our key operating areas, we cover both the rural and city-based landscapes in Wales – ensuring that every young person, child, and teenager is placed in a location which allows them to thrive.

But first, a little more about the process and how you can get involved in caring for a child.

The fostering process begins when a child or teenager can no longer live with their birth parents. There are many reasons why this might happen, meaning that there is no definitive timeline for placement agencies like ours to follow. Some placements are short term and last for days, while others will live with adopted parents for weeks, months, or even years. It all depends on the young person, their needs, and the situation through which they find themselves needing foster care – with different types of foster care available to different young people.

The Welsh government plays a part in overseeing the foster care activity of the country; outsourcing placement responsibility for children in foster care to independent agencies such as ours. This allows us to maintain and nurture direct contact with each of our foster carers and foster parents, which in turn gives you a consistent level of support and a place to go when you need help or guidance in dealing with various situations. There is no set journey towards becoming a successful foster carer, and we work with our families and carers to develop a process which works for you.

What does a foster carer actually do?

As a foster carer, there is a high chance that your home is the only place a child will feel welcome and safe – sometimes for a few days, in other cases for years. So many children who end up in foster care have suffered from some form of psychological or physical abuse, and so integrating them into a new home can be challenging.
But with every challenge comes its rewards – and becoming a foster carer allows you to enjoy and reap those rewards every single day.
Just some of the roles our foster carers take on in the lives of young people include:

  • Substitute parents
  • Educators
  • Skills developers
  • Cooks, cleaners, and counsellors
  • Timekeepers
  • Friends

What age will my potential foster placement be?

As you get to know the foster system, you will see that there is no set age for a child to enter the system or be put into a foster care placement. As a foster carer, you will be invited to discover the different types of fostering available to you and go from there – with the fostering categories including the chance to take in siblings, foster teenagers, foster younger children, and undergo specific training to open your home to traumatised young people.

No matter how experienced you are, how much of the foster care system you already understand, and which area of fostering you feel you can become a part of, our team at Calon Cymru are dedicated to making this journey one of hope and happiness for both you and a young person who needs you.

To learn more about our foster care system and how you can help children across Wales, get in touch with us or visit our individual location pages to find out exactly what kind of difference you could make.

Up for the challenge?
Get in touch today to start your fostering journey.