This section will include blogs that have been written by the very people in the know – our carers, sons and daughters, social workers and foster children. They will be sharing their genuine and honest thoughts and opinions on a variety of areas within the field of fostering.

Calling all empty nesters!

19 September, 2016


Summer Holidays are over and they young people have gone back to school or university so do you feel you have an empty nest or your children have left home? If so, seriously think about fostering. You don’t have to be a super human or have a posh house - so what do you need?


Firstly, time and a bedroom - after that everything else falls into place. Remember you have already brought up your own children successfully and made your mistakes which you have learnt from. The young people who need your help only want NORMAL, they are not looking for sympathy, handouts, flash holidays, or taken to numerous theme parks, (although a treat or a reward always goes down well); they just want your time, attention, love, care and to feel safe.


You don’t have to commit to taking someone full time as there is a need for short-term carers (a few weeks, or a couple of months while a long-term placement can be found), as well as respite carers who look after children for a couple of days or a few weeks while a plan for their future is drawn up.


I can’t promise it will be easy because it isn’t but there is lots of help available. You will have your own social worker who is there to guide you through all the paperwork, approval system, training and placements – they have your best interests at heart. They will also be there to help you through any difficulties or answer any questions you may have, and share in your successes. In addition, each child has their own social worker who knows them and their circumstances very well, and is there for the child when they need them.


Why not get some more information and make a difference to a child’s future. You can do it!!!

With thanks to Ian Suggitt, foster carer


School Holidays

1 August, 2016

School holidays are here again and I can hear carers saying ‘oh no’! But let’s twist this on its head; why not look at it as an opportunity. However, it needs some work from carers. As it’s no surprise that the summer holidays arrive every year, if we start planning in plenty of time then the six weeks can be very productive.

A lot depends on the age of the young people but there are many activities you can do at home or locally; how many kids don’t like a trip to the beach or to the park!

Why not make and fly a kite, go for a bike ride or take the kids to a field or park area – you could give them a list of A to Z and help them find something beginning with each letter; whoever finds the most items wins a prize.

Things you can do at home include: pond dipping, Lego, a picnic in the back garden or why not a treasure hunt!

Also, starting on 1st August, Halo Bridgend is running a play scheme for 8-13 years at their various leisure venues.

All of the above are virtually free so by planning a couple of weeks ahead you can allow for the uncertain Bridgend weather and combine it with a couple of day trips to cost-effective places like Wigglies

By attending support groups/coffee mornings it is often possible to join forces with other carer(s) to do more expensive activities; more often than not, group discounts are available – Jump Cardiff being a great example.

A family rail card is a great idea as you can get fantastic deals on the trains if booked ahead of time, plus young people very rarely get the chance to go on a train. If old enough, why not get them to plan the trip themselves?

So in essence, you need to plan, plan and plan again. The use of the internet for other than playing games can be a revelation!

With thanks to Ian Suggitt, foster carer

Communication – is what you say what you mean?

31 May 2016

With looked after children it is vital to ensure you use the correct level of vocabulary to their understanding of words. Not all looked after children’s metal age matches their physical age and it is easy to assume they understand.

It is no use saying 'do you understand?' because they will always say 'yes'. It is vital you double check that it has gone in by asking them to explain what they understood from the discussion you have just had. The results can vary immensely as sometimes the vocabulary you have used may not have been appropriate, or you have used phrases or sayings that are foreign to them. A few weeks ago we bought an outdoor play centre with swings, slide, monkey bars etc, and as it was a nice afternoon when the young people came back from school one day, we said to the youngest (who’s four years old) to go and get changed, come back down stairs, have a drink and go outside to play. THEN WE MADE AN ERROR. “There is a swing with your name on it” I told the child. He did as asked and happily skipped out into the garden. Within a few minutes the child was back in floods of tears. What’s wrong we asked, he then replied “ I have looked everywhere on both the swings and my name is not on any of them” Apart from trying very hard not to burst into laughter ourselves, it was incredibly difficult to explain that what we meant was not what we said.

With thanks to Ian Suggitt, foster carer

Fostering – What’s it all about?

25 May 2016

There is no easy answer to the question! I don’t even know if there is an answer!

Why do we do it? There’s another question that’s impossible to answer, but take it away from us and we would be heartbroken, lost and bored. Fostering is a way of life whether you are fostering babies, children, teens or a combination of all three. Once it has got you, you understand why people have done it for so many years.

Yes, there are times you want to say enough, but there are more times when you can say that was a great result; it might be the tiniest of things but a win is a big step for the young people in our care.

Once we looked after a baby who did not cry at all. For three months the baby didn’t cry because of a dirty nappy, for food, or to say they wanted a cwtch. When the baby cried for the first time (totally for the wrong reason) it was wonderful. Try to explain that to anyone and they might think you were mad, but it made all the hours of work worthwhile. There are lots more examples. When the baby moved on to its forever family, it was a time of great joy for us to know we had done our bit for that baby and for the new family, it was the start of a whole new life for them. Yes, it was tinged with sorrow because there was a hole in our lives, but soon enough there was another needy young person for us to help - but never, ever forgetting the joy the baby had brought us.

Fostering moves in many directions and there is always someone to help point you in the right direction, whether it is a social worker, family members, or other foster carers.

With thanks to Ian Suggitt, foster carer