Bridgend celebrates its foster friendly status during Foster Fortnight 2023
Posted on: Wednesday 17 May 2023
Every day in Wales there are five children in need of foster care. To raise the profile of fostering and show how foster care transforms lives, The Fostering Network (the UK’s leading fostering charity) runs an annual campaign, Foster Care Fortnight, which takes place from 15 – 28 May.
The purpose of this campaign is to celebrate foster carers, children of foster carers and care experienced young people in the fostering community, letting them know how vital and valued they are.
Foster Care Fortnight is an ideal time to say ‘thank you’ to existing carers, and Bridgend County Borough Council’s Foster Care Team have a programme of activities planned to celebrate their work.
On the first day of the campaign, Monday, 15 May, a team of professionals and experienced foster carers will take to the streets of Porthcawl, Pyle, and Maesteg to raise awareness of foster caring in the hope of recruiting more foster carers from the local communities.
At the end of the first week, on Friday the 19 May, the Bridgend County Borough Council Foster Care Recognition Awards will take place at the Atlantic Hotel in Porthcawl. This will be a celebration of the achievements of some of the county borough’s most prevalent and longstanding foster carers and recognition of all the hard work of the whole foster care community.
We will also be illuminating the council’s Civic Offices in purple during the campaign, on the 19 and 25 of May, to show our support and express our gratitude to local foster carers.
During the second week a foster care walk is planned with Toby the Bear (the local team’s mascot). Bringing local foster carers, foster children, family, and friends together, to share experiences, and an opportunity to offer support and advice to one another.
In addition to these activities Bridgend County Borough Council has recently become a foster friendly employer to help encourage more people to become foster carers.
Created by The Fostering Network, the initiative has been developed to encourage employers to support fostering, and to support foster carers themselves.
By adopting a fostering friendly policy, employers who are foster carers are offered the opportunity to work flexibly, where possible and are provided with up to five days ‘foster carer’ leave. This can be used to help the child settle into their home, for example, attend relevant training and for emergency circumstances that may arise from their role as a foster parent.
Reaching out to local employers to become foster friendly is just one of many things we are doing to help our foster carers. We have recently launched the foster carer’s charter to show how we respect the role of foster carers, empower them for day-to-day decision making and value their vital knowledge of the child as part of our team.Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help, Councillor Jane Gebbie
Having a visible presence in the local community and the support from residents during the fortnight can be highly effective. If you would like to know more about getting involved this fortnight and supporting your local foster care team, or if you would like to find out more about fostering for your local authority, please visit the Foster Wales Bridgend website.