100 Swansea families offer fostering

More than 100 Swansea families have answered the call to foster a child. Swansea Council’s Foster Swansea team has taken 106 enquiries about fostering following the launch of a recruitment campaign in May.

More than a quarter of those who called in June have now applied to become foster carers and hopes are high that many more will do so.

The team is part of the Council’s Social Services Child and Family Services and it is now urging more families to consider fostering to help it meet growing demand for care.

The looked-after children population in Swansea rose to 584 in May compared to 466 in June 2009.

Cllr Nick Tregoning, Swansea Council Cabinet Member for Social Services, said: “I hope that the success of our campaign so far will encourage more Swansea people to pick up the phone and ask about our fostering schemes. That way, they can find out whether there is a scheme which would both suit them and enable them to make a world of difference for local children who need our help and support.

“Swansea Council’s Child and Family Services is investing in better recruitment, retention and training in its fostering services to ensure that the rising number of children who come into care are found a stable, nurturing and caring family environment to help them face their futures positively.

“These children need our help because of their present family circumstances or things that are happening in their own lives. Foster care is widely recognised as the best thing for most of them.”

Foster Swansea’s Make a World of Difference and Foster campaign aims to help people in Swansea discover if they could foster and make a real difference to children’s lives.

First Cymru bus driver Michael Iturbe is delighted that he and his wife Tracey have a chance to play a positive role the lives of youngsters aged under 11.

He and Tracey have two daughters and Michael has two sons from a previous marriage but around nine years ago they began thinking about becoming foster parents to more.

It was more than two years ago when they decided their own children were old enough to cope with and enjoy having foster children in the home and they now take youngsters on short-term placements.

Michael said: “There is nothing in the world better than making a child happy and seeing them smile. We love having a house full of children. We hope we are helping them in some way and they give us so much back too.

“For our own children they are benefiting from the experience and fun of having little brothers and sisters around the house. It brings out a whole new side of them. It is hard when they move on but you hope you have given them and their families a fresh start in some way.”

Anyone interested in fostering is encouraged to contact Foster Swansea by calling 01792 533200.