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Mountain Ash Family spreads the word on the rewards of fostering

Ruth and Lee Walters with foster carers

Ruth and Lee Walters with foster carers from across Rhondda Cynon Taf

Foster carers Lee and Ruth Walters have found their career so rewarding that they’ve recommended it to others. And thanks to them, two other families have been approved as foster carers for Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Lee and Ruth, of Mountain Ash, first got interested in fostering after chatting to friends who were going through the process of becoming foster carers. They later decided to go through the approval process with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Fostering Team themselves - and have been fostering for around seven years.

The couple, who have a teenage son, currently foster two girls aged 14 and 12 who have been with the family since they were aged 11 and eight.

Lee took early redundancy from his factory job to become a full-time foster carer. "I love my job," he said. "We always said as long as you can make a difference to one person’s life when you’re fostering, then you have done a good job."

Ruth, who has a full-time job, has studied for degrees in childcare-related subjects. More recently, she returned to university to study a Masters degree.

The couple recently received awards at an appreciation lunch hosted by the Council’s Fostering Team, to thank them for recommending the two families who are now approved carers for Rhondda Cynon Taf.

With more than 600 children in various types of care throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf, the Foster Care team is appealing for caring people like Ruth and Lee to come forward and open their hearts and homes to others.

Rhondda Cynon Taf Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Services, Cllr Annette Davies, said: "We are very grateful to Ruth and Lee for their commitment – and for encouraging others to consider fostering children. 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."

Providing high-quality family placements for children and young people whose own families are unable to care for them is the Fostering team’s top priority.

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.

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