EMERGENCY! Foster Carers Urgently Needed
More foster families are urgently needed to provide safe, stable and nurturing homes for vulnerable children and young people across Northern Ireland.
This year during Foster Care Fortnight (14-27 May 2012) the Trust will be holding information sessions and touring the west in a fire-engine to highlight the sense of emergency for the need for more foster carers.
Dympna Brogan, Fostering Recruitment Team Manager said: "There are currently 1,916 children and young people living with foster carers in health and social care made up of emergency, respite, short-term, long-term, kinship and specialist placements, of which 315 are living in the Western Trust area. Providing a foster care placement in your home, whether it is respite, short-term, long-term, or kinship, allows a child or young person the chance to thrive in a safe, secure and caring home environment. Fostering is challenging but also rewarding at the same time. It takes time, patience and commitment to foster."
She continued: “I would ask anyone - Are you thinking about Fostering? Or have you ever had questions about fostering and have not known where to get more information? Come along and find out more.......Everyone is welcome!”
Monday 14 May 2012
Da Vinci’s Hotel, 15 Culmore Road, Derry
7.30 pm - 9.00 pm
Tuesday 15 May 2012
South West College – Omagh Campus
7.30 pm - 9.00 pm
Tuesday 22 May 2012
South West College – Enniskillen Campus
7.30pm - 9.00 pm
Foster carers and social workers will also be taking to the roads in a novelty fire engine this Foster Care Fortnight to emphasise how a regional shortage of foster carers is reaching emergency levels. Click here to see the full route.
Foster homes are needed for children of all ages who are unable to live with their own families. This may be a result of family breakdown, relationship difficulties, neglect, abuse or parental ill health.
Trusts want to find the right foster home for each child / young person, first time round. A shortage of foster carers may result in children / young people living with foster carers outside their local area, having to travel significant distances to school, being far away from their family and friends, and sometimes split from their siblings.
By recruiting a wide pool of foster carers, Trusts can place children / young people within their own areas with trained foster carers who best meet their individual needs.
There is a particular need for foster carers who are willing to offer children / young people a long term home. There are currently a number of children / young people waiting for a long term home in the Western Trust area.
Pat Armstrong, Western Trust Head of Fostering said: “Fostering provides children who cannot live with their own families with alternative care where they can benefit from a loving, safe and stable home. Some of these children require care for a short time, others need nurturing homes until they reach independence.
Mr Armstrong continued: “There is a particular need for more foster carers who could offer children long term/ permanent homes. These carers are committed to guiding vulnerable children through their teenage years, helping them build resilience and confidence for the years ahead.”
People may apply to foster whether they are married / co habiting or single, own or rent their home, work or are receiving benefits, or if they have children of their own. There is no upper age limit to who can foster as long as they are healthy and have the energy to care for a child / young person. Applications will also be considered irrespective of sexual orientation or religious / ethnic background.
A Local Foster Carer with the Western Trust, said: “Fostering a child is challenging but very rewarding. It has been a good experience for my whole family and everyone has been able to adapt to the changes. I would encourage anyone who is interested to come forward and take those first steps to becoming a foster carer and making a difference to a child’s life.”
Health and social care foster carers receive financial allowances, ongoing training and 24 hour social work support.
The Western Trust is looking to recruit people who are patient, understanding, compassionate and flexible and who have time and space in their lives to devote to a child / young person’s needs.
For more information about Fostering please contact Dympna Brogan, Recruitment Team Manager, Western Trust by Telephone: (028) 7131 4244 or (028) 8283 5264 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.adoptionandfostering.hscni.net for more information.