Emilia, aged 10, wins national fostering award

A 10-year-old girl from Swansea who has grown-up welcoming children into her family home has won a top national award.

Since before she was born Emilia May Armstrong’s parents have been foster carers.

Over the years it has meant Emilia has seen more than 20 children come and go, greeting each with the same enthusiasm and kindness, sharing her toys and her life.

Her selfless attitude has seen Emilia win the Outstanding Contribution by Sons and Daughters Award at The Fostering Network’s annual awards.

Emilia’s family started to foster before she was born and have been fostering with Foster Wales Swansea since 2017.

Judges heard Emilia is understanding when she needs to make sacrifices and really takes fostering in her stride.

During lockdown, she had to say goodbye to three children who moved on to another family. While this was tough emotionally, she still loves being part of a foster family.

Emilia was nominated by her mum, Teresa, who said: “She welcomes each new child to our home with the same enthusiasm and kindness, even when she knows her heart will break a little when they leave. We are immensely proud of her contribution to fostering.”

Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Care Services Louise Gibbard said: ‘I would like to pass on my congratulations to Emilia for winning this prestigious fostering award.

“She has displayed an enormous amount of support and kindness to all the children that have lived with them. Not many children can say that they have fostered all their life so it’s a fantastic achievement and something she should be very proud of.

“Foster carers’ own children share their homes and life, as well as their parents. They play a crucial role within a fostering family, making sure that children feel welcome.

“Their contribution makes a vital difference to the lives of children and young people. It’s important that we celebrate their achievements and show our appreciation for all that they do.”

Foster Wales were also winners at the Fostering Excellence Awards.

The national network of all 22 local authorities in Wales was chosen for an award for its ‘national commitment’ and dedication. Despite being a new team, it has been recognised that it has already significantly contributed to improving the lives of everyone involved in foster care in Wales.

Cllr Gibbard added:  “The team at Foster Wales is working tirelessly to shift the narrative of fostering in the country, focussed on improving recruitment and making key changes so that all local authority foster carers receive the same levels of support right across Wales.

“The aim is to promote local authority fostering, improve the support for foster carers, and ensure that good practice standards are followed. Their main ethos is to help build better futures for local children so the best outcomes are achieved for them.

“In Swansea, more foster carers are needed. Foster carers come from all walks of life and backgrounds and are crucial in transforming young people’s lives.

“Whatever your faith or cultural background, marital status, sexual orientation, or whether you own a house or rent, have children or no children, you can make a difference to children’s lives in Swansea.”

If you are interested in finding out more information on fostering, please visit www.swansea.fosterwales.gov.wales or ring 0300 555 0111.