“OUR girls are very much a part of our family and we are both so proud of what they have achieved in the four years they have lived with us”.
This is how Rebecca, a foster carer from Neath Port Talbot, described the most rewarding part of her role.
There are currently around 300 children being looked after in Neath Port Talbot, many of these are brothers and sisters.
As part of Neath Port Talbot Council’s campaign to recruit more carers, Rebecca has shared her experience and journey about fostering siblings.
Rebecca has been a foster carer along with her husband Keith since moving back from London where she worked as a nanny. Their first caring role was in September 2016 for two sisters aged four and five years old, who arrived as an emergency placement and were then matched to them on a long-term basis.
Keeping siblings together is always a priority for the Council’s Fostering Team as it can offer a child an extra layer of support and can reduce feelings of isolation.
Discussing the importance of keeping brothers and sisters together, Rebecca said:
“For me, I think it’s important as children who are put in the foster system don’t fully understand what’s happened and why all of a sudden, they are staying in a stranger’s home. I think it helps them emotionally having their sister or brother with them as they don’t feel isolated and have some sort of normality still.”
Whilst fostering can be a challenging role, it is also highly rewarding. Fostering can give you the opportunity to make a real difference in a young person’s life.
Talking about the rewards of the role, Rebecca said:
“Without a doubt, it’s the milestones that they hit even if it has taken them longer to succeed. Riding a bike, writing and reading, being able to make friends and be sociable.
“When our girls arrived, they had to be supervised constantly due to behaviour and attachment issues. So, to be told by friends, family and the school teachers how much the children have changed since being in our care is a massive achievement to us. We feel as if we have done a good job. It’s important to us that the children have as ‘normal’ a life as possible rather than being classed as a foster child.”
Rebecca and Keith received full support and training from the Council’s Fostering Team throughout the whole process, from when they first made the decision to apply right through to their first foster children coming to stay.
“The Fostering Team were and are still massive support to us.
“We had regular visits from the social worker who completed our assessment, and that’s without all the telephone calls they made to us as well. The training was fantastic as it showed that there will be hurdles during placements, but it gave advice on how to overcome these and gave reassurance that there is always support there for us.”
There is a lot to consider before making the decision to become a foster carer.
When asked what advice she would give to someone who is considering becoming a foster carer, Rebecca said:
“If this is something you want to do then go for it! I find this “job” so rewarding and I cannot imagine doing anything else.
“It’s not just caring for the children; there are LAC (looked after children) reviews, supervision meetings, meetings with the children’s social worker and contact but its easily manageable if you are organised.
“There is plenty of support out there so you are not alone and plenty of other carers out there who will give you advice. Training is ongoing so you can choose what courses suit you and some courses can be completed in your own time online.
“Finally, you will be allocated a supervising social worker who you can speak to if you have issues or concerns. Our Social Worker is amazing, so supportive and we feel like he is part of our family too!”
Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer or would like to find out more information, contact the Fostering Team by calling 01639 685866 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, check out the information on their website: www.npt.gov.uk/fostering