‘Open your heart to a foster child because need’s as urgent as ever’

Launching Foster Care Fortnight (June 1 - June 14) are Karen Fox and Quintin O'Kane from the Western Trust's Fostering Recruitment and Assessment Team along with the fostering mascot.

Launching Foster Care Fortnight (June 1 - June 14) are Karen Fox and Quintin O'Kane from the Western Trust's Fostering Recruitment and Assessment Team along with the fostering mascot.

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There are currently 2,110 children and young people living with foster carers across Northern Ireland, of which 388 are living in the Western Trust area but there is still an urgent need for more people to come forward and give children loving homes.

As a result of this, social work chief in the local health authority, Kieran Downey, is urging people to come along to a series of information evenings designed to encourage people to become foster carers this June.

“Foster carers and kinship carers care for children who cannot live with their own families.

“They provide alternative care where children can benefit from a loving, safe and stable home.

“They are committed to guiding the most vulnerable children, helping them build resilience and confidence for the years ahead.

“Some of these children require care for a short time, others need nurturing homes until they reach independence.”

Mr Downey continued: “As part of Foster Care Fortnight we are holding information evenings across the Trust to encourage the public to find out more about becoming a foster carer.”

Dympna Brogan, Recruitment Team Manager, Western Trust said: “We are asking the public during Foster Care Fortnight to come and meet our staff at our information evenings.

“If you have previously thought about fostering in the past and never followed this up with us and you are now in a position to provide safe, stable and nurturing home for vulnerable children and young people then we would love to speak to you.

“I would encourage anyone with any questions to come along.”

The ‘Foster Care Fortnight’ theme is ‘Make the Connection’ to increase awareness of the need for more foster carers and recognises the central role that existing foster carers play in providing stable, caring homes for vulnerable children and young people.

People may apply to foster or become kinship carers whether they are married/co habiting or single, own or rent their home, work 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.

The information sessions in the Limavady, Londonderry areas will be held on: Monday June 15, Scroggy Road Health Centre, Limavady at 7.30pm; Tuesday, June 16, Cumber House, Claudy, Londonderry at 7.30pm and Thursday, June 18, Da Vincis Hotel, Londonderry at 7.30pm.

For more information about Fostering please contact Dympna Brogan, Western Trust, Recruitment Team Manager by Telephone: (028) 7131 4244 or (028) 8283 5264 or email: dympna.brogan@westerntrust.hscni.net or visit www.adoptionandfostering.hscni.net for more information.

Foster Care Fortnight ( June 1 - June 14) is an annual United Kingdom wide campaign designed to raise the profile of fostering.