A local host family spoke about how rewarding the experience is as part of a campaign to attract more people to host families in Pembrokeshire.
The campaign is led by Foster Wales, the new national network of 22 local authority advocacy services in Wales.
As part of the campaign – which is supported by television and online advertising – host family Sue (pictured) from Pembrokeshire described her own experiences.
Sue, a single mother with two daughters, explains why she got involved in foster care: unmet needs of others from a young age.
âBoth passionately believed that all children had the right to a loving and fulfilling start in life and were dismayed that not all children got it.
âOver the years, my daughters have urged me to become foster parents, as well as the children I worked with at school who were either being placed or already there.
âOnce my daughters got comfortable in their sophomore year of college, I knew it was time.
âI sold my house and moved to Pembrokeshire to be closer to my parents, cousins ââand extended family for the support I knew I would need.
âWhen I was asked what age range I said, but I insisted that I wanted to keep siblings together, if possible. Over the years, I had seen too many brothers and sisters separate, âcontinued Sue.
Ironically, I ended up being paired with a nine-year-old girl identified as emotionally more stable without her siblings in the same setting, due to her own needs.
âIt was on the understanding that I wouldn’t have any other foster placements because she wanted 1: 1. It felt like I would give her the therapeutic and nurturing parenting she desperately needed. We agreed from the start!
âMy daughters and my family all welcomed her, love her and took her to the family. We sing, dance and laugh a lot.
âDon’t get me wrong, there are times when the trauma of her past is heartbreaking to see.
âI feel honored that she allows me to support her and see her go through these times.
âIt’s 24/7! It can be physically, emotionally, and mentally draining, but it’s worth it when you see the difference you’ve made.
“My supervising social worker is an absolute star – always there with a word of encouragement and the essential emotional support you need as a caregiver, not to mention great tips, ideas and avenues to try.”
When asked what advice she would give to someone considering fostering, Sue replied, âInvestigate the practicalities, financial implications and geographic barriers.
“Hard-hitting question, but are you doing it for your dreams or for the sake of the child?”
âI went into this idealistic thinking about what I could offer emotionally without seriously thinking about all the practical things I wasn’t able to offer.
âAs your foster child may need therapeutic intervention or additional medical appointments and checks, contact with family members as well as going to clubs – ask yourself if you are able to facilitate all of this without encroaching on your work and income potential.
âI would have liked to have learned to drive before applying for placement as a non-driver, as I find it a barrier to providing the best care to my foster child.
âSo, saying all of this, foster care is exceptionally emotionally rewarding when you step into it with your eyes wide open and you are fully prepared both practically and financially and I have no regrets about going there. be launched for a single moment, âshe added.
To find out more about welcoming local authorities in Pembrokeshire, visit https://pembrokeshire.fosterwales.gov.wales/ or call 01437 774650 or for more information.
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