Southern Health and Social Care Trust has held a successful Fostering and Adoption information evening to mark Foster Care Fortnight.
The special ‘Fortnight’ aims each year to showcase the commitment, passion and dedication of foster carers and to support fostering services highlight the need for more foster carers.
Given the increase in the number of children becoming looked after, The Fostering Network estimates the need for fostering services in Northern Ireland to recruit a further 200 foster families in the next 12 months.
The greatest need being for older children, sibling groups, children with disabilities and children from ethnic minority backgrounds.
The recent public event entitled ‘Til I Grow Up’, which took place at The Junction in Dungannon, was attended by 60 people who had the opportunity to talk to experienced carers, meet with social workers, and learn more about specific children who need a permanent home through long-term fostering.
The event shared information about emergency, respite, short-term and intensive support foster care as being a foster carer does not necessarily require a full-time or long-term commitment.
During the evening the audience heard from a newly approved foster carer in relation to his journey towards becoming a foster carer for the Trust, and what it has meant to him, his family and the children placed with them.
The audience also heard the emotional narrative of a care experienced young person who has succeeded in education and progressed to independent living.
Colm McCafferty, Assistant Director of Children and Young People’s Services within the Southern Trust, said: “I hope some people may be encouraged to give fostering a try.
“I would like to assure them that we, like all the Trusts, are dedicated to helping and supporting and training foster carers in fulfilling their role”.
To find out more about fostering visit: www.adoptionandfostering.hscni.net