Foster Care Fortnight 2016, Northern Ireland’s largest celebration of fostering, has been launched by the Fostering Network in Northern Ireland in partnership with the Southern Health Trust and the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service.
Foster Care Fortnight – which runs until May 30 – aims to raise the profile of foster care and to promote the recruitment of foster carers.
Foster carers and staff from all fostering providers in Northern Ireland came together for this annual event. Foster carers were given the opportunity to take part in a variety of workshops that ranged from yoga to study skills, and a whole lot more in between.
Kathleen Toner, Director of The Fostering Network in Northern Ireland, said: “Today has been a real celebration, not just for families who already foster, but also the members of the public who have come along this afternoon to find out more about fostering and have opened their heart to the idea of their family becoming a fostering family.
“To launch Foster Care Fortnight with our friends and colleagues from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust and the Regional Adoption and Fostering Team has been an exciting experience. Their commitment to foster care, foster carers and kinship carers, and the children that live with them, is remarkable and we would encourage people in the area to get in touch with them and to start their own fostering journey today.”
Paul Morgan, Director of Children and Young Peoples Services within the Southern Trust, added: “We are delighted to host the launch of Foster Care Fortnight and help raise awareness of the valuable job foster carers do. We can never underestimate the value of family life.
“Time and again we see how, with support and encouragement, a child’s confidence can be increased, helping them to achieve in education and employment and work towards reaching their full potential.
“I hope some people may be encouraged to give fostering a try. I would like to assure them that we, like all the Trusts, are dedicated in helping and supporting foster carers in fulfilling their role”
Foster carers may be married, co habiting or single. They may own or rent their home, work or receive benefits, and may or may not have children of their own. There is no upper age limit for foster carers as long as they are healthy and have the energy to care for a child or young person.
Anyone who wishes to find out more about becoming a foster carer should visit https://www.thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/could-you-foster or contact the HSC Regional Adoption and Fostering Service on 0800 0720 137, or alternatively, call the Southern Health and Social Care Trust on 028 38 337181.
Pictured left to right, Kathleen Toner, Director of The Fostering Network NI, Paul Morgan Director of Children’s Services Southern HSC Trust and Una Carragher Regional Adoption and Fostering Service.