Gay Brice-Jones

gay brice jonesFostering is a family affair for Gay Brice-Jones and her daughter Carys Fraser – who both provide homes, care and support for looked-after children who need it the most.
Gay, 55, of Ynysybwl, has always wanted to foster children and applied 11 years ago with the support and encouragement of her late husband, Kerry.
She says it was focusing on fostering and the children who were relying upon her that helped her through the difficult times following the tragic death of Kerry four years ago.
Carys, 27, lives just up the road from her mum with her husband and young daughter. She was well aware of the benefits of fostering as she spent many years sharing her mum and family with looked-after children.
When she became a mum herself, she decided to follow in the footsteps of Gay and foster. She has been caring for children for just over a year and also works as a respite foster carer, providing short-term care for children when their foster parents or birth parents need a break.
Grandmother-of-three Gay always wanted to be a foster carer but thought (wrongly!) she would not be able to apply as she had found herself as a single mother after the birth of her son, Gareth, now 34.
She went on to remarry and have two other children, Carys and Jonathan, 24, and still yearned to help children, so volunteered at local schools, a role she loved.
One night 11 years ago, Gay and Kerry were watching TV when a Rhondda Cynon Taf Council appeal for new foster carers was screened. She told Kerry it was something she had desperately wanted to do for years.
“He turned to me and said ‘Let’s just do it then, right now, me and you’”, said Gay. So they applied and have never looked back since.
Kerry retired from his career so he could focus on fostering and he always said that the last years he spent helping children and young people and giving back, were the most important of his life.
Following his death, Gay never considered giving up foster, saying it gave her a focus and helped her to cope. While she is no longer able to take more than one child at a time now, she says she would rather help one child move on to the next important stage of their life – and she has no intention of stopping!
She said: “I urge anyone who has been thinking about fostering to make the first step. There is so much information and advice on offer to help you make the right decision.
“You have nothing to lose by finding out more and it is only by discussing fostering with the Foster Care Team and other foster carers that you can make the final decision about whether it is right for you. It could be the best decision of your life.”
Carys added: “Fostering has always been in our family thanks to mum, and it was always something I considered. When I became a mum myself, that was when I made the decision to foster.
“The reward that you get when a child you have cared for is able to return to their birth family or go on to be adopted by new parents is incredible and makes it all worthwhile.
“Providing respite care is important to me. There are children who are with a foster family and settled, but they know that if they can’t stay with that foster family for a while, due to a personal emergency or something similar, the rest of the foster carers are looking out for them and will care for them for as long as is needed.”
Cllr Geraint Hopkins, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Services, Equality and the Welsh Language concluded: “Gay and Carys are part of the huge family of foster carers we are proud to have here in RCT.
“We know there are more people in our communities, from all walks of life and personal backgrounds, who would make excellent foster carers and provide the local care and upbringings local children in need rely upon.
“In the words of Gay and Carys, you really do have nothing to lose by finding out more – but everything to gain.”
Find out more by visiting www.rctcbc.gov.uk/fostercare or call the friendly Foster Care Team for a no-obligation chat now on 01443 341122.