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Could fostering be your new year resolution?

It's that time of year where people set resolutions for the year, promising to lead healthier lifestyles, save money, or tick things off their bucket list.

Foster Swansea

But why not consider making a positive difference to someone else's life instead of just making a commitment to change your own.

Foster Swansea is appealing to residents to consider becoming a foster carer in 2018.

Whilst many children and young people have just celebrated Christmas and New Year with their families opening present after present, there are others who are less fortunate and, for many reasons, are unable to live at home.

Foster Swansea, the council's fostering service, has a shortage of carers and particularly needs to recruit people willing to foster sibling groups, teenagers and parent and child. 

Currently there are 502 children and young people in care, some of which are lucky enough to be placed with permanent families. However, there are many vulnerable children who are in short-term placements or have had to move out of county, making them feel more detached from other members of their family.

Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Mark Child, said: "We still have a shortage of foster families so in 2018 we need more to keep up with the number of children who are coming into care.

"The new year is when many people will be making resolutions and thinking about challenges they would like to conquer throughout the year. But if people really want to make a difference and achieve, I would urge them to think about helping a child reach their potential by becoming a foster carer.

"Foster carers really do help change the lives of children and young people. The positive changes that can be achieved from a child being placed within a permanent, secure and loving family are incredible.

There is no 'ideal' type of person who can become a foster carer. The council needs people from a variety of different backgrounds and life experiences to meet the needs of the children.

You can be a parent already, or have no children of your own. You can be single, a couple in a same-sex relationship, married, divorced or separated. You can be claiming benefits or in work. You can own your house or rent. The minimum age of applying to become a foster carer is 21 but people can continue to foster past retirement age. No formal qualifications are required.

Federico Podeschi fosters alongside his husband, Darren. Whilst he admits it can bring challenges, he says that making a difference to children is extremely rewarding. He said: "Ever since getting together, both Darren and I always wanted a family. After getting married, we both agreed that fostering was not only an opportunity for us to dedicate ourselves to raising children, but a worthwhile way to do it since there are so many children in need of a loving and caring family.

"At times, fostering has been very challenging because trauma, fear, and negative behaviour gets in the way and you feel like you can't get past the wall that a child has built around them. However, you just need to persevere because when you manage to remove little bits of that wall, you feel amazing to have made a little difference to that child.

Foster carers receive an allowance, training and extensive support, including access to experienced foster carers - including support groups.

Federico added: "We have benefited greatly from the support, training, and supervision provide by Foster Swansea. Everyone was incredibly encouraging and understanding towards us as a same-sex couple and it is great to know that there's always someone available to talk to if you need support."

If you think fostering could be for you then further information is available at www.fosterswansea.org or alternatively, contact the fostering team on 0300 555 0111.


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