Foster a child to change their life - and yours

Joan and Pat Joe McLoughlin. Photo: Shelley Corcoran
A Longford woman who has fostered nearly 200 children over the years is taking part in a major drive to encourage more parents and families to foster children in Co Longford.

A Longford woman who has fostered nearly 200 children over the years is taking part in a major drive to encourage more parents and families to foster children in Co Longford.

Longford town woman and Kerry native Joan McLoughlin is one of the key players in the campaign which aims to turn children’s lives around.

Joan and her husband Pat Joe have fostered children in Longford town for the best part of 30 years and they have experienced first hand how fostering can change a child’s life.

“We need more foster parents for both long term and short term care,” Ms McLoughlin told the Leader.

“We want to get the message out there that people are always needed to foster and it is a very important commitment.”

According to the experienced foster carer, foster care can be for just one hour or even stretch to 18 years in the long term and the rewards cannot be understated.

“Longford has never been a big county for fostering, however in nearby Westmeath it is very popular,” Ms McLoughlin continued.

“I fostered myself for many years and am a member of the Irish Foster Care Association (IFCA) branch here in Longford town. We meet every four to six weeks and I find it to be a wonderful support.

“There are many families in Ireland who need parents for long term or short term care of their children. Those who would like to foster are provided with training and there is also plenty of support available as well.

“We would provide a lot of support to families who do decide to foster,” added Ms McLoughlin. “Sometimes there are parents who become stressed and worried after bonding with a child that was in their care for some time, but the important thing to remember is there is training and the support is there at all times. There are many cases where a child stayed with its foster family for a lifetime.”

According to Fostering First Ireland (FFI) “Fostering is an amazing journey that can turn a child’s life around and could even change yours too”.

“That’s why we provide them with the support and training they need to provide the highest quality foster care placements.”

The organisation encourages collaboration between social workers and foster carers at all times.

For more information contact 01 417 1944.