Photo by Caleb Oquendo from Pexels
Today, March 1, 2021 is that start of Fostering Fortnight, the Irish Foster Care Association’s annual campaign to raise awareness and understanding of foster care in Ireland.
Taking place from March 1 - 14, Fostering Fortnight aims to shine a light on all the valuable contributions made in fostering families every day.
It is a chance for all those involved in fostering, and the communities that support them to tell their stories and share their experiences.
This year Fostering Fortnight is focussing on the mental health and well-being of foster families in Ireland.
The Irish Foster Care Association has put together a range of information sessions, talks and fun family activities, all online, for all those involved in foster care in Ireland, to offer foster carers support and connection.
Highlights from the Irish Foster Care Association’s Members Survey 2021*:
44% respondents said their foster children are more settled during this pandemic
76% are happy with the support from their link worker at this time
32% said lack of structure for their foster child has been a challenge during the pandemic, while 24% said facilitating family visits was challenging
41% looked to family for support at this time while 30% looked to their link worker
Foster care is the backbone of the alternative care system in Ireland. There were 5,877 children in care at the end of December 2020, 91% (5,340) in foster care, 72% (3,829) are in general foster care and 28% (1,511) are in relative foster care. 94% of children in general foster care had an allocated social worker and 91% of children in relative foster care had an allocated social worker.
Fostering Fortnight is an opportunity to celebrate foster care in Ireland and the benefits that growing up in a family environment can have on children in care. This can contribute greatly to better outcomes for children, offering them stability and permanence in a family setting at a time in their lives when they need it most.
Speaking at the start of Fostering Fortnight, Bernard Gloster, CEO, Tusla – Child and Family Agency said “Tusla is happy to support the Irish Foster Care Association and their Fostering Fortnight campaign. I’d like to thank foster carers for all that they do to support children in care. Sometimes children and young people can’t live at home, for a range of reasons, and foster carers welcome them into their homes and provide love, support, and stability. I would encourage anyone with an interest in becoming a foster carer to visit our website, fostering.ie.
“During Covid-19 we are continuing to provide services across core areas that support children and families at risk and have focused on three priority areas, including children in care. We know how important contact is for children and we are keeping in contact with children and young people using technology, and where necessary visiting them in person.”
Catherine Bond, CEO, Irish Foster Care Association said “Fostering Fortnight is an important date in our calendar as it allows us to shine a light on foster care in Ireland and the valuable contributions everyone involved in foster care makes every day with children in care. This year has been challenging for our foster families as it has for everyone. But foster carers face unique challenges during lockdown which can bring added stresses and pressures on the family. Some of these challenges are regarding family visits, accessing services and anxiety amongst their foster children. This Fostering Fortnight we are focussing on the mental health and well being of the fostering community and we are delighted to offer a range of online talks, get-togethers and fun family activities to support the fostering community during this time.”
Keep up to date on all the activities taking place during Fostering Fortnight, on our website www.ifca.ie and also on Facebook and Twitter.
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