Fostering can change lives

Fostering Fortnight shines a light on the vital role foster carers play in our alternative care system

Longford Leader

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Fostering can change lives

Monday marked the start of Fostering Fortnight, the Irish Foster Care Association’s annual campaign to raise awareness and understanding of foster care in Ireland.

Barry Keoghan was on hand to launch the campaign: “It’s important that people realise that fostering can change lives, but children in care also need extra support from the people around them.”

Mr Keoghan added, “We can’t just forget about these children once they are in foster care. We need to think about how we might do our bit to help, by listening to what they are saying, by putting them at the centre of any decisions made about them and by supporting the fostering families. Only in doing this can we be sure these children can reach their full potential.”

Fostering Fortnight runs from Monday, February 26 – Friday, March 9 and it aims to raise awareness and understanding of foster care in Ireland and to highlight all the valuable work taking place across the country.

It is a chance for all those involved in fostering, and the communities that support them to tell their stories and share their experiences.

Foster care is the backbone of the alternative care system in Ireland. The number of children in care at the end of November 2017 was 6,182; of these, 92% are in foster care (65% in general foster care and 27% in relative foster care).

This means that children are supported in a family setting and can grow and develop in a secure environment while remaining connected to their birth family.

Children in foster care thrive as foster families offer them secure, happy, and fulfilling childhoods, supporting them to reach their full potential.

Ardmhéara, Mícheál MacDonncha commented: “Fostering Fortnight is two weeks in the year when we shine a light on the vital role foster carers play in our alternative care system, but remember they provide this role 24hrs a day, 365 days of the year.

t is a testament to our fostering service that 92% of children in care in Ireland are placed with foster families. Without the goodwill of so many families in Ireland, this would not be possible. I would like to take this time to say thank you to all foster carers for the commitment you have made to these young people.”

Catherine Bond, CEO, Irish Foster Care Association said, “Fostering Fortnight is such an important event for fostering in Ireland as it allows all involved in foster care to share their stories and show the positive work being done every day in foster care in Ireland. Foster care is the backbone of alternative care for children in Ireland with 5,703 children right now living with foster families. Foster families are 100% committed to these children. Every day they go above and beyond to care for these children and it is essential that their needs are met with access to services and supports for the children in their care and supports for them as foster carers.”

Jim Gibson, Chief Operations Officer, Tusla, said, “We are delighted to support IFCA’s Fostering Fortnight. Foster carers are the backbone of our care system. We know that growing up in a family environment leads to better outcomes for children, giving them the best opportunity to reach their full potential as adults. I want to thank all foster carers for the work they do, sometimes in challenging circumstances. Tusla appreciates your enormous contribution and strives to continually improve our relationships with, and supports available to, foster carers.”

For more information on what is happening across Ireland for Fostering Fortnight, visit our Facebook and Twitter pages or visit www.ifca.ie for updates.