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Bridgend County Borough Council is asking if 2019 could be the year you start your fostering journey and make a positive difference to the life of a local child.

A total of 6,407 children were looked after in Wales during 2018 - an increase of 464 or eight per cent on the previous year. Bridgend County Borough needs foster carers to come forward and help us meet the diverse needs of some of our most vulnerable children.

Becoming a foster carer in 2019 is a chance to make a real difference to some of the most vulnerable children and young people within our county borough.

There are many reasons why a child will come in to care such as neglect, a breakdown in family relationships, or parental health problems including alcohol or drug misuse.

Increasing the number of foster carers will not only ensure that vulnerable children live in loving and stable homes, but it can help reduce placement disruption via careful matching.

Bridgend foster carer, Joanne Biggs said: “My husband and I are unable to have children of our own, at the time we didn't feel ready to adopt, we felt that fostering would give us the home life that we wanted and that we could give a loving home to a child who really needed one.

“Coming from the Bridgend area, we really wanted to help children in our local community. We knew Bridgend Foster Care were looking for foster carers especially for older children and after meeting the assessing social worker, we were excited to be part of such a committed team.

“The most rewarding thing about fostering, is those moments where we are all together, relaxed and comfortable and we feel like a family, I forget that I'm a foster carer and I feel like a parent.”

Cllr Phil White, Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help, said: "At this time of year, people often think about new opportunities. If you have a spare room and want to make a difference to the life of a local young person, I'd encourage you to consider fostering.

“The council needs foster carers for children of all ages. This includes sibling groups, teenagers and a parent and their baby. Experienced carers are also needed for specialist short term placements to help children and young people with complex needs and challenging behaviours.”

All fostering pays a weekly maintenance allowance to cover the costs of looking after the child. Foster carers are also paid a weekly fee in recognition of their skills and expertise and additional allowances to cover travel.

Cllr White added: “Although foster care is without its challenges, the positive changes that can be achieved from the smallest of interventions is what makes it all worthwhile.”

“Whether you’ve already considered becoming a foster carer, or your interest is new, make it the year you decide to start your fostering journey. You could have a positive influence on the future of a local child.”

Prospective foster carers need the time and energy to invest in a child or young person. They must also be flexible, patient and understanding.

Bridgend County Borough Council provides foster carers with extensive training, financial allowances, 24-hour support, plus provide carers with the opportunity to undertake relevant qualifications. Child fostering allowance is not taxed, and does not count against state benefits.

To find out more, please visit www.bridgendfostercare.wales or call the fostering team on 01656 642674.

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