Appeal for foster carers as annual fortnight is launched

L-R in photo of Launch of FCF24: Robbie Butler MLA, Valerie Quinn, (social worker in assessment and support), Melanie Coffey (senior manager, Family Placement), Nuala Fitzpatrick (The Fostering Network).L-R in photo of Launch of FCF24: Robbie Butler MLA, Valerie Quinn, (social worker in assessment and support), Melanie Coffey (senior manager, Family Placement), Nuala Fitzpatrick (The Fostering Network).
L-R in photo of Launch of FCF24: Robbie Butler MLA, Valerie Quinn, (social worker in assessment and support), Melanie Coffey (senior manager, Family Placement), Nuala Fitzpatrick (The Fostering Network).
HSC NI Foster Care was proud to co-launch Foster Care Fortnight™ on Monday, May 13 at Parliament Buildings, Stormont alongside The Fostering Network.

Foster Care Fortnight is the charity's annual UK-wide campaign designed to raise the profile of fostering and highlight how foster care transforms lives.

Attended by foster carers, care experienced young people, social work staff and policy makers from across Northern Ireland, the event was an opportunity for HSC NI Foster Care to celebrate their foster carers, reaffirm their commitment to do the best for children and young people, and also encourage more people to consider fostering.

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Una Carragher, Manager at HSC NI Foster Care, said: “We are all very aware of, and appreciate, the challenges involved in foster care from the perspective of birth parents, children/young people who have been separated from their birth families, foster carers and the many professionals involved in supporting birth families and foster carers. I think it is important that we never lose sight of the many positives of foster care; how foster care can support a family to turn their lives around, the resilience of children/young people in the face of adversity, the achievements made and the commitment and experience gained by foster carers. I certainly believe that is something to celebrate.”

HSC NI Foster Care need a wide range of foster carers to reflect the diversity of children and young people who need safe and nurturing homes.

Where possible, HSC NI Foster Care want children to remain within their own communities if they are unable to live at home to minimise further disruption and instability in their lives, allowing them to stay at their local school, maintain friendships, and continue with their hobbies and interests.

HSC NI Foster Care’s fostering community is made up of a rich mix of people including couples, single foster carers, parent and an adult child who foster together, foster carers from minority ethnic groups and foster carers from the LGBTQ+ community.

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Grace Rogers, foster carer said: “The children we care for just need consistency and love, and somebody to commit to them. A lot of the time when people talk about fostering they said they’d love to do it…But…There isn’t any ‘buts’, I’d say just take that step and do it, it’s so worthwhile and it has been incredibly rewarding for our whole family over the years.”

Mervyn Erskine, foster carer, shared what fostering means to him: “It’s going to bed at night knowing I’ve done something good, a feeling of satisfaction that I haven’t wasted my day. You have to get up in the morning to get the children their breakfast, out to school, then there’s homework to help with, it gives life a purpose especially when you’re retired like me. I was worried that when I retired that nothing I would do would matter. This matters. And when you see the children you see that; the love, the trust and the safe space we have created for them.”

To find out how you could become part of HSC NI Foster Care’s fostering community, call 0800 0720 137 or visit adoptionandfostercare.hscni.net

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