LOCAL authority fostering services in Wales have joined forces to become ‘Foster Wales’ whereby teams across the nation combine their efforts and expertise to significantly increase the number and diversity of foster carers.

Despite over a third of Welsh adults claiming they have considered becoming a foster carer, there is still a need to recruit an estimated 550 new foster carers and families across Wales every year.

This is to keep up with the numbers of children who need care and support, whilst replacing carers who retire or are able to provide a permanent home to children.

The new national network, Foster Wales brings together the 22 not-for-profit local authority fostering teams across Wales.

With decades of experience, they work together and share information and expertise to make a significant national impact on the futures of young people.

Launching Foster Wales Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan MS, said: “I know from listening to foster carers just how rewarding fostering can be.”

Cllr Catherine Hughes, Cabinet member for Porth Ceredigion, Early Intervention, Wellbeing Hubs and Culture said: “Significantly increasing the number and diversity of foster carers recruited directly to local authorities will enable us to have more choice available when matching a child; finding the right fostering family for each child is key to our ultimate goal of building brighter futures for children in our care.

“In the majority of cases, finding placements for children that keep them in their local area is a great benefit.

“It keeps them connected to their friends, their school and their sense of identity. It builds confidence and reduces stress.

“Working with Foster Wales means offering the right local home to a child who needs that opportunity and getting the expert local support and training needed to equip foster carers for the journey ahead.”

To find out more about Local Authority fostering in Wales, visit fosterwales.gov.wales