Our Cardiff-based team work directly with our members throughout Wales. We support foster carers and other professionals by delivering training, learning, research and advice and information services. Working with a range of partners across academia, statutory and third sector and including ADSS Cymru, CASCADE at Cardiff University and our Confidence in Care consortium partners, we have unrivaled expertise and knowledge to support excellence in foster care.
Confidence in Care
Confidence in Care is a five-year, Big Lottery funded programme aimed at training 1,500 foster carers in Wales to raise their Confidence and improve placement stability.
Based on social learning theory, the course has been designed by clinicians from King’s College, London. The course runs for 12 weeks and teaches foster carers different techniques to build positive relationships with the children and young people in their care.
Working with our partners from Action for Children, Barnardo’s and TACT care, we deliver courses in each of the 22 local authorities in Wales, in a central location that is easily accessible to all participants. Sessions last 4 hours a week with a free lunch provided.
The course is open to both new and experienced foster carers, kinship carers, special guardians and residential centre staff working for local authorities or independent fostering providers. Participants must have a young person in their care between the ages of 2 to 18 where the placement is forecast to last for the duration of the 12-week course.
Fostering Wellbeing is a Welsh Government funded programme based on the principles of social pedagogy. The programme aims to help all participants, irrespective of professional status, to identify the core values and principles which will help children and young people who are looked after to thrive. After a successful pilot in the Cwm Taf region, we are now rolling the programme out across Wales. Fostering Wellbeing will encourage professionals to work together and create a shared framework and language to improve wellbeing outcomes. Click here for more information on this innovative and exciting programme.
Training and Consultancy in Wales
Our training is designed to meet the identified needs of the team around the child, supporting children and young people who are looked after in Wales to achieve their best possible outcomes. We are constantly updating and adding to our portfolio of courses for foster carers, supervising social workers and professionals in the education and health sectors.
All of our training can be delivered in house for your agency and jointly or regionally commissioned, while our most popular subjects are included in our annual open course programme.
Our highly skilled and experienced associate trainers will also develop bespoke training and consultancy programmes for your organisation.
Our training reflects the core requirements of the All Wales Health and Social Care Induction Framework and Post Approval Learning and Development Framework for Foster Carers. Attending our courses will equip participants with evidence of knowledge and skills to include in their learning and development portfolios.
Fosterline Wales - Information, advice, and assistance
The Fostering Network is able to provide unrivalled bilingual information, advice and support to foster carers and other professionals. We operate the free bilingual Fosterline Wales helpline, open from 9.30am – 12.30pm daily.
Fosterline Wales have also produced factsheets for foster carers in Wales. These focus on issues ranging from allegations to pets to saying goodbye and can be found here.
We also operate an independent support service for local authorities and independent fostering providers, to provide an independent advocate when needed to foster carers.
The Foster Carers' Charter in Wales
The Foster Carers' Charter covers issues such as supervision, involvement in planning and decision-making, and information and payments. The charter is an important way forward for fostering services in Wales, as it is a promise for service delivery that is owned by everybody invovled: the council, the fostering services, and foster carers. To ensure that the foster carer charter is embedded into everyday practice, The Fostering Network wants to help enable fostering services to develop and implement their own local charter. This will help foster carers get the recognition they both deserve and need in order to provide children with the best possible care.
As part of the Fostering Excellence programme (2016 - 2020) we developed an implementation framework and toolkit which embraces the charter and takes it to the next level.
Find out more about the charter resources and work.
For some time there has been a strong consensus in Wales that there is a need for a National Fostering Framework. Through working with Welsh Government and colleagues from across the fostering sector we have been vociferous in our influencing activity to address some of the key challenges that are threatening to undermine the effectiveness of fostering services in Wales.
For example, the involvement which young people have in their care planning issues to do with recruitment and retention of foster carers, the support, protection, status, respect and recompense afforded to foster carers and, in particular, the relationships between local authorities and independent fostering providers.
As a member of the Strategic Steering Group associated to The National Fostering Framework, we have been pleased to contribute to a strategic plan aimed at transforming fostering provision in Wales.
We need to be assured that foster carers will be available to children and young people who need them, in sufficient numbers, to play their crucial role in providing children in care with the health, well-being and future prospects they need and deserve.
Now in phase three of the work programme, you can read all about the headline messages from the National Fostering Framework here.
One of the Phase 3 workstreams was the development of a Post Approval Learning & Development Framework for foster carers in Wales. We worked with AFA Cymru to consult with key stakeholders across Wales and design the draft framework which sets out core topics and consistent learning outcomes . We then worked with Regional Development Managers to produce an implementation package, including guidance on cross referencing learning to the All Wales Induction Framework for Foster Carers in Wales. The framework is being formally launched and implemented from September 2019 .
The National Fostering Framework Wales foster care allowances and payments survey 2016-17
The Fostering Framework in Wales Phase One report identified the payment of foster care allowances and fees as a key issue. It was recognised that the current pattern across Wales would present particular challenges but that these should not be ignored.
As part of the Phase Two development of the National Fostering Framework, The Fostering Network was commissioned by the strategic advisory group for the National Fostering Framework to undertake a survey of local authorities 2016-17 foster carer payment structures across Wales.
The subsequent report has demonstrated the scale of inequality of financial arrangements for foster carers across Wales, in particular in relation to fees.
Education and looked after children
The Fostering Network is working closely with Welsh Government in order to support foster carers who already play a vital role in raising aspirations and supporting children in care. Click here to read about our recent work including our guide ‘A foster carer’s guide to the education of looked after children’ and the ‘Making it Happen’, 'Greater Expectations' and 'Working Hand in Hand' magazines for foster carers.
The emotional and mental health needs of children and young people in care
In September 2017, the Fostering Network took part in a response to the Welsh Government’s (Children and Young People’s Education Committee) Inquiry into the emotional and mental health of children in Wales. Consultation work was carried out with foster carers from across Wales and a comprehensive consultation report was prepared. This consultation report informed our five page submission to the inquiry.
In addition to the response to Welsh Government, an in-depth report has been written and published in which details the further issues raised relating to the emotional and mental health needs of children and young people who are looked after. It not only draws on foster carers views, opinions and experience but also upon the broad, collective experience of The Fostering Network, including discussions with a range of professionals in health, social services and education, and as stated, the outcomes of a specially convened focus group of foster carers and birth parents of fostered children to explore the issues raised in the terms of reference of the Inquiry.
The impact of allegations made against foster carers in Wales
This 2019 report highlights the impact of allegations made against foster carers and also the need for substantial improvements in the way the allegations investigation process is carried out. It has been informed by the experiences of foster carers throughout Wales who have given personal accounts of their experiences, and also draws on their wisdom about how the allegations process can be significantly improved for all involved.