We work directly with our members throughout Wales. We support foster carers and other professionals by delivering learning and development, research, and information services. We collaborate with a range of partners from academia, statutory, and third sectors. To contact us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charlotte Wooders - Project Manager
Fostering Wellbeing is a Welsh Government funded programme based on the principles of social pedagogy. The programme aims to help all participants, irrespective of professional status, to identify the core values and principles which will help children and young people who are looked after to thrive. After a successful pilot in the Cwm Taf region, we are now rolling the programme out across Wales. Fostering Wellbeing will encourage professionals to work together and create a shared framework and language to improve wellbeing outcomes.
Click here to find out more about our innovative and exciting programme.
email@example.com - Project Manager North Wales
firstname.lastname@example.org - Project Manager South Wales
Training and Consultancy in Wales
Our training is designed to meet the identified needs of the team around the child, supporting children and young people who are looked after in Wales to achieve their best possible outcomes. We are constantly updating and adding to our portfolio of courses for foster carers, supervising social workers and professionals in the education and health sectors.
All of our training can be delivered in house for your agency and jointly or regionally commissioned, while our most popular subjects are included in our annual open course programme.
Our highly skilled and experienced associate trainers will also develop bespoke training and consultancy programmes for your organisation.
Our training reflects the core requirements of the All Wales Health and Social Care Induction Framework and Post Approval Learning and Development Framework for Foster Carers. Attending our courses will equip participants with evidence of knowledge and skills to include in their learning and development portfolios.
Fosterline Wales - Information, advice, and assistance
The Fostering Network is able to provide unrivalled bilingual information, advice and support to foster carers and other professionals. We operate the free bilingual Fosterline Wales helpline 0800 316 7664 open from 9.30am – 12.30pm daily.
Fosterline Wales have also produced factsheets for foster carers in Wales. These focus on issues ranging from allegations to pets to saying goodbye and can be found here.
We also operate an independent support service for local authorities and independent fostering providers, to provide an independent advocate when needed to foster carers.
The Foster Carers' Charter in Wales
The Foster Carers' Charter covers issues such as supervision, involvement in planning and decision-making, and information and payments. The charter is an important way forward for fostering services in Wales, as it is a promise for service delivery that is owned by everybody invovled: the council, the fostering services, and foster carers. To ensure that the foster carer charter is embedded into everyday practice, The Fostering Network wants to help enable fostering services to develop and implement their own local charter. This will help foster carers get the recognition they both deserve and need in order to provide children with the best possible care.
As part of the Fostering Excellence programme (2016 - 2020) we developed an implementation framework and toolkit which embraces the charter and takes it to the next level.
Find out more about the charter resources and work.
For some time there has been a strong consensus in Wales that there is a need for a National Fostering Framework. Through working with Welsh Government and colleagues from across the fostering sector we have been vociferous in our influencing activity to address some of the key challenges that are threatening to undermine the effectiveness of fostering services in Wales.
For example, the involvement which young people have in their care planning issues to do with recruitment and retention of foster carers, the support, protection, status, respect and recompense afforded to foster carers and, in particular, the relationships between local authorities and independent fostering providers.
As a member of the Strategic Steering Group associated to The National Fostering Framework, we have been pleased to contribute to a strategic plan aimed at transforming fostering provision in Wales.
One of the Phase 3 workstreams was the development of a Post Approval Learning & Development Framework for foster carers in Wales. We worked with AFA Cymru to consult with key stakeholders across Wales and design the draft framework which sets out core topics and consistent learning outcomes . We then worked with Regional Development Managers to produce an implementation package, including guidance on cross referencing learning to the All Wales Induction Framework for Foster Carers in Wales. The framework is being formally launched and implemented from September 2019
The Final report of the National Fostering Framework 2018 - 2021 can be read here.
The report outlines the journey in developing a co-ordinated Wales wide approach to supporting foster care services in Wales. This includes specific initiatives, regional work programme, improved data and information as well as a co-ordinated team approach to improving local authority fostering services through local authority, regional and Wales wide arrangements.
The National Fostering Framework Wales foster care allowances and payments survey 2016-17
The Fostering Framework in Wales Phase One report identified the payment of foster care allowances and fees as a key issue. It was recognised that the current pattern across Wales would present particular challenges but that these should not be ignored.
As part of the Phase Two development of the National Fostering Framework, The Fostering Network was commissioned by the strategic advisory group for the National Fostering Framework to undertake a survey of local authorities 2016-17 foster carer payment structures across Wales.
The subsequent report has demonstrated the scale of inequality of financial arrangements for foster carers across Wales, in particular in relation to fees.
Research in partnership with Cardiff University (CASCADE, DECIPHer and School of Social Sciences) and funded by the TRIUMPH Network (2021 - 2022)
The strengths and challenges of online services and interventions to support the mental health and wellbeing of care-experienced children and young people.
Young people who have been in care are at increased risk of poor wellbeing and mental ill-health. There are range of programmes and services that aim to offer support, but the majority of these are delivered in-person. The Coronavirus pandemic and its associated lock downs and restrictions prompted a move from these face-to-face interactions to more remote forms of engagement that relied on telephone or online contact. This had consequences for the type and frequency of mental health and wellbeing services and interventions that were available to care-experienced children and young people and their foster and kinship carers.
This report presents the views and experiences of online mental health and wellbeing provision among young people, carers, and health and social care professionals in Wales during the Coronavirus pandemic. The participants discussed the strengths and challenges of online and in-person services and offered recommendations for future practice and interventions.
The findings from the study noted some benefits of online mental health and wellbeing services and interventions for care-experienced children and young people, including accessibility, privacy and being able to engage or disengage remotely without the pressures of face-to-face interactions. However, accessibility, a lack of privacy and the format of online interactions were also cited as some of the challenges of remote forms of contact. Therefore, the advantages and disadvantages of online versus in-person contact were complex and intertwined.
We would like to acknowledge the TRIUMPH Network for the funding and support they contributed to this study.
Education and looked after children
The Fostering Network is working closely with Welsh Government in order to support foster carers who already play a vital role in raising aspirations and supporting children in care. Click here to read about our recent work including our guide ‘A foster carer’s guide to the education of looked after children’ and the ‘Making it Happen’, 'Greater Expectations' and 'Working Hand in Hand' magazines for foster carers.
The emotional and mental health needs of children and young people in care
In September 2017, the Fostering Network took part in a response to the Welsh Government’s (Children and Young People’s Education Committee) Inquiry into the emotional and mental health of children in Wales. Consultation work was carried out with foster carers from across Wales and a comprehensive consultation report was prepared. This consultation report informed our five page submission to the inquiry.
In addition to the response to Welsh Government, an in-depth report has been written and published in which details the further issues raised relating to the emotional and mental health needs of children and young people who are looked after. It not only draws on foster carers views, opinions and experience but also upon the broad, collective experience of The Fostering Network, including discussions with a range of professionals in health, social services and education, and as stated, the outcomes of a specially convened focus group of foster carers and birth parents of fostered children to explore the issues raised in the terms of reference of the Inquiry.
The impact of allegations made against foster carers in Wales
This 2019 report highlights the impact of allegations made against foster carers and also the need for substantial improvements in the way the allegations investigation process is carried out. It has been informed by the experiences of foster carers throughout Wales who have given personal accounts of their experiences, and also draws on their wisdom about how the allegations process can be significantly improved for all involved.