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Council first to be fostering friendly in Wales

Published: 11/11/2016

Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to support and endorse a policy which will make Flintshire the first local authority in Wales to become a “Foster Friendly” employer. The Council is also encouraging more local businesses to adopt a flexible and supportive working arrangement for any staff who foster through the local Council. There are currently 64,000 children in care in the UK, with a child coming in to care every 20 minutes in need of a fostering family , more new foster carers are needed. Flintshire County Council Cabinet Member for Social Services, Councillor Christine Jones, said: “We are really proud to become the first Council in Wales to be “Foster Friendly”. We are offering our employees an additional 5 days annual leave so that they can undertake the training to become a foster carer with us. Once approved as a foster carer, they will be able to take an additional 5 days a year to attend meetings and further training. “Part of the national push to encourage more people into fostering has been to “bust the myth” that you are not allowed to work if you become a foster carer. The aim of this policy is to support those employees who are already foster carers and to encourage those who may be considering foster care to take that step, becoming positive working role models and widening the pool of available foster carers. This means that more children in care can be matched with the very best foster carer for them. Having the support of their employer may make the vital difference in the decision of an employee to become a foster carer.” Many foster carers are approaching retirement age, which places further pressure on future foster carer numbers. To address the national challenges around fostering, and to try and encourage more working people to become foster carers, the Government has called on employers to become “fostering friendly”. The policy developed by The Fostering Network, encourages employers to provide flexibility and time off for employees who are prospective foster carers and are going through the application process to become a foster carer. Also to support those foster carers already providing care to looked after children, to cover any training, attendance at panels and hearings and to respond to any emergencies which may arise.