Foster carers' children thanked for their vital role
Swansea Council is highlighting the valuable role that foster carers' own children play in a fostering family as part of Sons and Daughters month (1-31 October).
The Fostering Network's annual campaign celebrates and recognises the incredible contribution that sons and daughters give in welcoming foster children into their families.
The council's fostering service, Foster Wales Swansea, is supporting the campaign in recognition of providing loving, safe and friendly homes for other children.
Many people might be concerned about the potential impact of fostering on their own children and the main reason why they choose not to become foster carers.
However, 47% of Foster Wales Swansea's carers have birth or adopted children still living at home and their presence can make a real difference to foster children.
Aflie, 12 and Rosie 10, are siblings and very much enjoy being part of a fostering family.
Rosie said: "I like that my family fosters and I'm really proud. I think all children deserve to be safe. I feel that I make other children happy. I have met lots of new people.
"I made new friends when I went to the sons and daughters group as I got to talk to other children whose family fosters. I love my foster brother. He is funny and he makes me happy. I like that I get to see the children who come to live with us grow up and become the best they can be."
Alfie added: "Foster carers have a positive effect on vulnerable children in the society we live in. I believe that some people hold back on fostering because they think that their own children won't like it but I completely disagree.
"Fostering is amazing and if anything fostering makes life more fun. Since fostering, me and my family have helped lots of children. I now have a foster brother who is a big part of my life. I feel I set a good example for him to follow and love that he is part of our family.
"The hard bit of fostering is when children leave but it makes me happy to know my family has helped them. When I grow up I want to be a foster carer."
The Foster Wales Swansea team run a support group for their foster carers' own children so they feel supported and can speak to other children who are part of a fostering family.
Councillor Elliott King, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "I would like to say a massive thank you to all the children of our foster carers and celebrate the important contribution they make to foster care. I'm so proud of what they do. I want to pay tribute to them for creating loving, safe and friendly environments for other children.
"I understand that many people thinking about fostering could naturally be concerned about the potential impact on their own children. However, our foster carers' own children are testament to the positive impact that growing up in a fostering family can have.
"Seeing life from another's perspective can be an enriching experience and can help a child learn and develop as an individual. They play a vital role in helping foster children to adjust to their new environment, and can become a mentor figure in helping a foster child to settle into their home and meet new friends.
"Sons and daughters of foster carers are unsung heroes and we want each and every child and young person who grows up as part of a fostering family to know just how important they are."
Fostering is a whole family approach and everyone in the household will be involved in the decision to foster and the assessment process. Foster Wales Swansea run a specific sons and daughters support group where activities and events occur throughout the year. It's a chance to meet other children from families who foster and share their experiences in a fun and safe environment.
Foster Wales Swansea still need more foster carers. For more information, visit www.swansea.fosterwales.gov.wales or ring 0300 555 0111.