Foster carer Beth Jenkins
When her children turned 10 and 12, mum Beth Jenkins decided it was time to open her home to children in need of a loving family. It turned out to be the right decision for the Jenkins family as three years on, Beth and her husband Andrew have successfully fostered two young babies.
"I really wanted to look after young babies and it turned out to be the best decision we could have made," said Beth, a full-time foster carer, of Tonyrefail.
"We are ‘stay at home’ people and having a baby at home fits in with our lifestyle."
Working with children was something Beth had always wanted to do. She started nursery nurse training but gave that up when she was offered a full-time job in a supermarket. When she had her own children, her career working with young children went by the wayside.
It was when Beth’s son and daughter got older that she decided she wanted to foster babies. Her first long-term placement was a little boy who was adopted at the age of two. Beth is currently fostering a second little boy who the Jenkins family brought home from hospital when he was just 11 days old. He is also due to be adopted, and although it will be difficult to part with the baby, Beth and her family are prepared for this.
"When the first baby was adopted, my own children did find it hard but they dealt with it really well. They know why we are fostering and they are quite proud about it," she said.
"I would recommend fostering to others. We get a lot of support from family and friends and I feel that we are lucky that we can do this. I’ve got a career in an area I always wanted to work in and I am at home. We really enjoy what we are doing."
With more than 600 children in various types of care throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf, the Council’s Foster Care team is appealing for caring people like Beth to come forward and open their hearts and homes to others.
Providing high-quality family placements for children and young people whose own families are unable to care for them is the top priority of this busy Council service. Residents of all ages and backgrounds who may never have been parents themselves are welcome to come forward.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Services Cllr Annette Davies, said: "Fostering is a demanding but hugely fulfilling career, and we welcome people from all kinds of backgrounds who may not have had experience of being a parent or working with children, but who share the same commitment to ensuring children’s potential is fulfilled. I am pleased to hear that Beth and her family have found welcoming babies into their home so rewarding."
There are a variety of foster care schemes available, including short term, long term and respite placements, and the Foster Care Service will work closely with foster carers to find a scheme suitable to both them and the young person they care for.
The Council’s policy is that children and young people should remain with their parents where it is safe, and they proactively support families wherever possible. But when this isn’t possible, the Council aims to provide placements that can give a child stability and a sense of security.
All carers receive professional support and training including first aid, child protection and fire safety, with the chance to secure formal qualifications in childcare. Foster carers receive good fees and allowances, and free leisure access for all the family.
Potential carers do not need to own their own property, but will need a spare bedroom. Many people who become foster carers do not have children of their own. They will also have access to support 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a social worker allocated to both the carer and child alike.
To find out more about how to become a foster carer, please contact the Council’s Fostering Team on 0800 085 26 35.