Gwynedd Council is supporting a campaign to remove the profit from foster care.
Foster Wales Gwynedd highlights the benefits of fostering with a local authority, as the Welsh Government moves ahead with plans to remove profit from the care of looked-after children.
Wales is in the process of a whole system change for children’s services.
The changes proposed in the 2021 co-operation agreement between Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru prioritise services that are locally based, locally designed, and locally accountable.
Within these plans there is a clear commitment to ‘eliminate private profit from the care of looked after children.’ This means, by 2027, care of children that are looked after in Wales will be provided by public sector, charitable or not-for-profit organisations.
In light of these changes, Foster Wales Gwynedd – which is part of the network representing Wales’ 22 local authorities – is calling for more people to become local authority foster carers and encouraging those currently fostering with a for-profit agency to transfer over to their local authority team.
Cllr Elin Walker Jones, Cabinet member from the Children and Family Support Department, said: “When a child or young person is unable to live with their own family for whatever reason, foster families step up and do fantastic work to ensure that they have somewhere safe to call home and the support they need to go to have a bright future. I would urge anyone who is interested in becoming a foster carer to get in touch with the team here in Gwynedd for a chat.
“I am delighted that Wales is leading the way when it comes to removing the profit from foster care services for vulnerable children. This is a fantastic opportunity to make a long-lasting, positive change to how young people are cared for today, and in the future.
“Local Authority Foster Caring offers many benefits – from support, training to community – most importantly, the option for young people to stay local. If there are people in Gwynedd fostering through independent agencies, I would encourage them to get in touch with the Foster Wales Gwynedd team.”
In Wales, 79 per cent of children cared for by private fostering agencies are fostered outside their local area, and 6 per cent are moved out of Wales entirely. Meanwhile, 84 per cent of those living with local authority foster carers stay within their own local area, close to home, to school, to family and friends.
Wilma Jones has switched from fostering with an independent agency to Foster Wales Gwynedd. She said: “From the minute I started fostering with a private agency, I felt it was all about money and profit for them. There was no support, they weren't there for us at all.
“Fostering for me is providing love and a home, and since I transferred to foster with our local authority in Gwynedd, the experience has been completely different.
“I am fully supported and have a much better quality of life now. This is how fostering should be.”