Wales 'faces foster care crisis'

The charity Action for Children is warning that there could be a crisis in fostering here, with shortage of carers made worse by the fact that many people wrongly believe they are not eligible to foster.

Carer shortage prompts fears of a foster care 'crisis' in Wales

A leading foster care provider has warned that Wales is on course for a fostering crisis.

Action for Children says there's already a shortage of carers here - and the problem's getting worse, because many potential carers don't think that they're eligible to foster.

Its research found that half of people in Wales wrongly think those over the age of 55 can't foster.

36 percent think you can't do it if you live in rented accommodation - and 12 percent believe men can't be the main carer.

Tom Sheldrick has been to meet one man from the Rhondda Valley who's proved that's very much not the case.

Read more: busting the foster caring myths

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Charity: 'Myths are preventing people from fostering'

Action for Children has launched the 'Fostering Myth Busting Campaign' today, which aims to dispel the most common myths that prevent people from becoming foster carers.

The charity says it is surprised at the lack of understanding around foster caring in Wales, and that those myths are preventing people from finding out about fostering, and adding to the worsening foster care crisis in Wales.

With these myths preventing people from coming forward, and the public not knowing the true extent of just how many children are currently in care, we are on course for a crisis in Wales. There’s an urgent need to tackle these misconceptions to move children into loving homes so they have the stability they need.

With the UK’s population at an all-time high, sadly the number of children coming into care will continue to rise, and so will the need for carers.

It is estimated that it takes four years from someone thinking they would like to foster to actually picking up the phone and making their initial enquiry. Often the reason behind this delay is because of the misconceptions they have, and their fear of rejection. But this could be prevented by helping people to understand that, in the majority of cases, they can foster and have a lot to offer a young person in care.

– Jason Hughes, Practice Manager at Action for Children's Taith Newydd fostering service in Newport

Many wrongly believe they can't be a foster carer

Action for Children, a leading foster care provider, found that, in Wales:

  • 50% wrongly think you can't be a carer if you are over 55
  • 36% wrongly think you need to stay in full-time employment to be a carer
  • 36% wrongly think you can't foster if you live in rented accommodation
  • 31% wrongly think you can't be a carer if you are gay
  • 12% wrongly think you can't be the main foster carer if you are a man

2,004 people around the UK were surveyed by Populus between 17-19 July.

The charity has launched an online 'Myth Busting Academy' on its website, to give people more information on who can foster.

Click here to visit Action for Children's Myth Busting Academy

Nine percent of people in Wales don't understand what fostering means, and what rights and responsibilities a carer has.

A child or young person is fostered when they can't live with their own family due to temporary problems they are facing, such as drug and alcohol abuse, or ill health.

Wales 'on course for a crisis' in foster care

Action for Children has launched a campaign to expel some of the myths about foster care. Credit: PA

A foster care charity is warning that "we are on course for a crisis in Wales", because many potential carers are not coming forward as they don't know that they are eligible to foster.

There are currently 3,300 children in foster care in Wales, and a shortage of 600 carers this year alone. Action for Children is concerned the situation will only get worse.

It says that a number of myths - including the fact that half of people wrongly think you can't foster if you are over 55, and 31 per cent wrongly believe you can't be a carer if you are gay - are stopping people from coming forward.