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Can't cook, could foster!

Results from a survey involving children and young people in foster care have revealed that you don’t need to be a good cook to be a great foster carer – being able to provide security, support and love are the most important ingredients!

The survey, conducted by the Fostering Network, generated 261 responses from care experienced children and young people.

They were surveyed on a range of issues aimed at identifying what they consider to be the key qualities and skills needed to foster, and about the difference these qualities made to the lives of children living in foster care.

The top three qualities that the children and young people identified as key to making a good foster carer were:

  • making them feel safe and secure (67 per cent)

  • supporting and helping them (61 per cent)

  • loving them (54%)

Only 14 per cent thought that being a good cook was an important skill in a foster carer.

The results from the survey were launched to mark the start of Foster Care Fortnight (16-29 May). The theme for this year's campaign is Time to Foster, Time to Care to recognise that every 20 minutes across the UK a child or young person comes into care in need of a foster family.

The council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Services and Equalities, Councillor Hailey Townsend, said: “This research validates what we’ve been communicating in our campaigns. Currently we have a shortage of foster carers in Bridgend and need people to consider coming forward to provide a safe, loving and supportive home to vulnerable children and young people so they have the chance to flourish and do well.

“In particular there is an ongoing need for more foster families to provide homes for teenagers, disabled children, and sibling groups. 

“Without more foster families coming forward during 2016 some children will find themselves living a long way from family, school and friends, being split up from brothers and sisters, or being placed with a foster carer who does not have the right skills and experience to best meet their specific needs.

"Campaigns like Foster Care Fortnight is a brilliant way for us to really put a spotlight on the role of a foster carer and let people know about what a fantastic opportunity it is. All sorts of different people have the skills and qualities to foster and we hope people will use Foster Care Fortnight to find out more about becoming a carer. Fostering is a really important job as it benefits some of the most vulnerable children in our society, helping them build a bright and confident future.”

Bridgend County Borough Council accepts applications to foster from all sectors of the community. There is no upper age limit to foster and people can be single, married, co-habiting, in a heterosexual or same sex relationship, own or rent their home.

Applicants need to be over 21 and have a spare room (or spare rooms for siblings) in their home.

Becoming a foster carer offers a new career path that includes financial support and the opportunity to undergo training and learn new skills.

To find out more about this year’s Foster Care Fortnight campaign, please visit www.timetocare.wales while for further information about becoming a foster carer, call (01656) 642674.