Call For More Male Foster Parents

A charity says Wales desperately needs more men to get involved with foster care. The Fostering Network says male foster parents can provide positive role models for children in care.

The group is holding a conference in Cardiff on Monday looking at the role men play in fostering.

It is estimated that there are 4,500 children in care on any one day in Wales, with almost 3,500 living with nearly 2,000 foster families.

However, the Fostering Network says recent research has shown that men are failing to come forward to work with children because they fear being labelled paedophiles.

But the charity insists that male foster carers can give children, especially boys, the opportunity to explore issues about their birth father and have contact with men who understand their needs.

It says that men can act as role models, sometimes giving foster children their first positive close daily contact with men.

Joe Griffiths, a foster carer from Caerphilly, added: “As a foster carer I want to offer a child the chance to experience an ordinary family life. I know that I have been the first positive male role model in the lives of some of the children we have looked after.

Crucial role

“Seeing young people grow and thrive and knowing that I played a role in that is very rewarding.”

The Fostering Network’s chair, Jim Bond said: “Foster care has traditionally been viewed as a task undertaken by women, and although times have changed, this still appears to be the public perception.

“But the reality is that men have much to offer as foster carers, and can provide the positive role model that some of these vulnerable children have never had.

“We want to encourage more men to come forward, and to reassure them that they have a crucial role to play, either as sole carers or as half of a fostering couple.”