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Why Sarah's a foster care ambassador for Wales

Being a foster carer is one of the most rewarding jobs Sarah Jones has ever had.

Sarah_Jones_fostering

That is why the 52-year-old from Swansea wanted to help promote the real difference fostering can make to young peoples' lives and to help shape national policy to benefit foster carers and the youngsters they look after.

Sarah has recently been appointed as one of six Foster Carer Ambassadors in Wales by The Fostering Network charity - as part of the Fostering Excellence national improvement programme.

Her role is wide-ranging but it is something clearly she feels passionately about.

It is two years since Sarah became a foster carer with Foster Swansea - which helps more than 150 foster care families in Swansea who provide safe, happy and caring homes to hundreds of youngsters in the city.

She said: "I would say it's one of the best job I've ever had - to create change one child at a time and watch that child blossom and grow and fulfil their potential.

"These kids have a lot to give to the world and maybe they don't always have the best opportunities, so creating an environment where a child can flourish is a joy.

"It is hard work there's no doubt about it, but Foster Swansea is incredibly supportive of their foster carers and we do get a lot of backing."

As part of her new role as a Foster Carer Ambassador, Sarah will host and speak at events, showcase foster care achievement, offer support to fellow carers and help raise the profile of what they do.

Along with the other Ambassadors, she will also act as a voice for foster carers across Wales.

She added: "The Fostering Network is the largest charity for foster carers in the whole of the UK. In Wales they wanted to create an environment where foster carers and young people have a direct input into the Fostering Network as a way to help influence them and have a wider input into policy change, peer support and other issues."

Although she has not been in the role long she has already attended her first meeting and a conference.

Sarah said: "One of the first things we did as a group was to talk about what we thought the issues were that foster carers have to deal with.

"What was really interesting is that none of us complained about the kids - the kids were not even an issue for us. They are a joy and benefit of working as a foster carer.

"Some of the issues we had, and it did not matter whether we are from north, south or mid Wales, they were all the same. They are same issues across the UK - the need to have an input into an organisation where our voices are heard at a national level.

"I wanted to put myself forward as someone who could work with other people to help create some change and get our voices heard."

Cllr Christine Richards, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "I would congratulate Sarah on her new role.

"Our foster carers in Swansea are an inspirational group of people and I'm sure Sarah will do a fantastic job of representing them and others from across Wales."

Anyone interested in fostering can head to www.fosterswansea.org or call the team for a chat on 0300 555 0111.


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