A young woman has shared her experience of being fostered as Monmouthshire County Council launches a new campaign aimed at finding more kind carers to support young people in need of a stable and loving home.

20-year-old Carys Davies entered foster care at the age of 11 and spent four years living in care. During her placements, she was able to build relationships with the foster carers, their own children and other foster children which she still cherishes to this day. She is now hoping her story will encourage people to consider a role as a foster carer which is not only rewarding for the carers but can help change the lives of people just like her too.

Here’s her story:

“My name is Carys, I’m currently 20-years-old and I first went into foster care when I was 11. I had four foster placement between the ages 11-14. I then went into a residential placement until I left care at 18. I had foster placements as short as a few days and some that nearly lasted two years. I’ve been with carers of all different ages and different family arrangements.

In my opinion, being ‘older’ going into foster care can be more difficult for the child and the foster carer/s as when I went into care at the age of 11, I already had a sense of identity, views and opinions. I also had an understanding of my family and the circumstances that led me to come into care. I really appreciated it when foster carers understood this and allowed me to talk about my family and past, and would also show an interest and cared about me. I was made to feel fully included in their family, especially if they had other children (whether they were biological or other foster children.) Small things like being included in different activities, from food shopping, days out and even holidays abroad all meant a lot to me. I understand it is difficult trying to get the balance of being a part of their family whilst accepting that they have their own family. I also appreciated it when foster carers explained fostering to their children and helped them accept me into their home as it made it more comfortable and easy for us to get on.

I know fostering can be difficult at times. I know at times I would be angry, upset and frustrated, which was often voiced to my foster carers. It was never anything personal to them so it meant a lot when we could work through these difficult times and they understood that we do get upset and angry about being in care and being away from our families. It always helped when they empathised with me and understood how I felt.

Being a foster carer is more than a job, they need to be open and loving to a child, offer them a safe home and environment. Though it comes with its challenges at times, it is very rewarding. I’m still in contact with past foster carers now, they still show an interest in me and what I’m doing. I will always be grateful to those who fostered me and been a major part of my life.”

Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health, Councillor Penny Jones said: “Thank you to Carys for sharing her experience of being fostered. Her story goes to show just how much of an impact foster carers can have on the lives of children and young people who face difficult circumstances. I call on anyone who might be considering a change or who want to help young people to please get in touch with us. It’s a great opportunity to really make a difference.”

As part of the campaign, Monmouthshire County Council is highlighting the benefits to becoming a foster carer with the local authority. New foster carers will receive indepth training, support and a financial allowance. They will also join a community of other foster carers in the county.

For more information and how to apply to become a foster carer, please see www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/fostering