Posted: Sun 8th Jan 2017

Incredible Year For Fostering RCT /
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jan 8th, 2017

2016 was an incredible, challenging and rewarding year for Fostering RCT and the children and young people it cares for – and 2017 is set to be better! ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Some 36 people, including a 23 year old and her 25-year-old partner, a retired coach driver, a single mum and carers who previously worked for other agencies were welcomed to Fostering RCT in 2016 and are now making a huge difference to the lives of children. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Fostering RCT is Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s fostering service, providing long and short term homes for the 680 babies, children and young people who, through no fault of their own, are unable to live with their birth families. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It is delivered by an army of men and women of all ages and from all walks of life, who work shoulder-to-shoulder as professionals with dedicated social workers, teachers, counsellors and others to ensure the children and young people have a safe, supportive and nurturing home for as long as they need it. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As 2017 begins and the campaign to encourage more people in Rhondda Cynon Taf to consider becoming a foster carer for a child in care who needs it the most, Fostering RCT has taken a look back at some of 2016’s highlights. Click on the links to read the stories from our carers and the children they look after. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

January: What better way to celebrate the start of a New Year than a personal message of thanks to foster carers from siblings Leon and Louise Griffiths, who went straight into the care of Fostering RCT’s Susanne Smith and Martyn Jones from their primary school classrooms when they were aged just 10 and 9. They say being part of an “ordinary” family enjoying Sunday dinners, day trips and walks in the countryside made their upbringing so extraordinary. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

February: Fostering RCT launched an exciting new information website and information pack to help people who were thinking about fostering to find out more. Thanks to all the foster carers and care-leavers who helped us make it! ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

March: Mother’s Day was an extra-special celebration at Fostering RCT as we met the mums and daughters who were fostering. Marion George and her daughter Mandy Clarke, Gay Brice-Jones and her daughter Carys Frazer and Joan Crisp and her daughter Andrea Walters are among the generations of Fostering RCT carers. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

April: Proud moment for all of us as retiring Fostering RCT carers Joan and Peter Crisp, Ken and Yvonne Mason, Morgan and Rita Southway and Mike and Chris Fletcher were commended as “Good Citizens” by RCT Mayor Cllr Barry Stephens for their contribution for Fostering – they have cared for hundreds of children and, between them, have been foster carers for over 180 years! ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

May: Fostering RCT’s Elaine Kerslake gave us a brilliant insight into what it is like to care for teenagers in a special article to mark Foster Care Fortnight. Often people assume caring for teenagers is a bigger challenge than younger children. We all know every teen can be a challenge and those in care are no different. They just want someone on their side to help them through life’s milestones of friendships, being accepted, school, exams, relationships and so on. Read Elaine’s story. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

June: We held a celebration event in Dare Valley Country Park and the sun shone all day as foster carers, their children and the children they cared for enjoyed toasting marshmallows, archery and more. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

July: Matthew and Tracy Lockyer celebrated the summer in style, spending the entire six-week holidays in a caravan in West Wales with the four siblings they were caring for. They had a ball swimming, playing sports, dancing in the disco and having fun all summer! ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

August: Team GB paralympian Sam Bowen gave up her place in Rio 2016, where she was due to build on her success in London 2012 in sitting volleyball, to focus on caring for the little girl she fosters. Sam turned to sport as a way to help her cope after she was left dreadfully injured while serving in the Army in Iraq. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

September: Lynette Bryan shared her joy as the boy she has in her care enjoyed a family holiday in which he overcame his shyness and got involved in games (and won) and diving (meeting a rare seahorse!) ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

October: Sons and daughters month is marked every year to celebrate the contribution the children of foster carers make to the lives of looked-after children. They share their parents, their homes, their belongings and their hearts with looked-after children. They become siblings, friends, peers and even role models – and they make a massive difference! ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

November: The annual Foster Care Appreciation lunch was a chance for us to say thank you to all the carers for their outstanding work in 2016. We welcomed some of the 36 new carers who have joined Fostering RCT this year and also bid a fond farewell to those who have retired. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

December: Christmas is no small deal for Fostering RCT and many of the children in our care were enjoying their first “proper” festive season, including a massive party held for all looked after children at which everyone had a great time. It was also a time for making memories and foster carers across RCT worked with their own sons and daughters and the children they care for to create personalised decorations to hang on their trees. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Geraint Hopkins, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Equality and the Welsh Language, who is also Fostering Champion, said: “Each of the 680 children and young people in care represents a lot of heartbreak, heartbreak for us, heartbreak for them and heartbreak for their families. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“When a child comes into the care of the Council, they become a child of Rhondda Cynon Taf. Our incredible army of foster carers are the residents who step up and put themselves forward as care-givers, nurturers and supporters of these children. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“They are the backbone of a community effort in RCT and work shoulder to shoulder with professionals including social workers to raise the children of our county borough. It’s not a job for everyone. But those who have chosen to foster have said what a challenging, rewarding and life-changing experience it has been for them.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Fostering RCT is recruiting now. There is not set criteria to be a carer. You need to be a minimum of 21 years old and have a spare room, a sense of humour and the commitment to meet the needs of the child or children in your care. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

You will be paid fees and allowances that represent your caring role and will have the dedicated support of a Foster Care supervising social worker, as well as extensive induction, ongoing training, the chance to secure professional qualifications and the invaluable support of other Fostering RCT carers. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Aldi Talbot Green from 1pm to 5pm on Thursday, January 12. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Sainsbury’s in Pontypridd from 9.30am to 1pm on Friday, January 13. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Llantrisant Leisure Centre from 9.30am to 1pm and Morrisons in Porth from 2pm to 5.30pm on Saturday, January 14 ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Asda Tonypandy from 10am to 12pm on Sunday, January 15. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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