Colin Turner is The Fostering Network's director in Wales. He is also a foster carer. Here, as part of Foster Care Fortnight, he writes a message to the thousands of foster families in Wales.
Dear foster carer
This Foster Care Fortnight I am writing to acknowledge and thank you for the tremendous work you do in caring for and supporting fostered children in Wales. As a foster carer myself, I know fostering can be immensely rewarding as we see children and young people in our care grow, develop and gain in confidence and resilience.
You play a fundamental role in transforming the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in our society and you rightly deserve respect and recognition for all that you do.
Fostering is more than just a job. It is a vocation that demands patience and tenacity and a good sense of humour. While the role can be very rewarding it can also be testing and challenging, not just for you but for your sons and daughters and extended family members.
As well as providing day-to-day care for children and young people, I know from experience that you advocate on behalf of the children you care for, support their educational, health and social wellbeing, manage sometimes challenging behaviour, promote contact with birth family members, keep records, attend meetings and work with the wider team of professionals, as well as developing your own unique skills. Foster carers are more than just parents.
Through the work that you do you develop skills and knowledge that make you child care experts who work as part of a team of professionals to ensure fostered children receive the highest standards of care. In doing so you provide security, stability, and support at a crucial time in the child’s life.
Finally, I know you commit time and energy to children in your care, being there for them to talk to, celebrate their achievements with and be someone they can trust. So, once again, thank you.
Director of The Fostering Network in Wales