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Derry couple say becoming a Foster Carer is an incredible way to make a difference’

26th May 2020

The Fostering Network’s Foster Care Fortnight is the largest celebration of Foster Carers in Northern Ireland and was launched on Monday 11th May.

Covid-19 meant there could be no celebratory event, but it didn’t stop the campaign to raise awareness of the fantastic work Foster Carers in Northern Ireland are doing.

Derry couple Linda and William Walker, have fostered for over 19 years with HSC Northern Ireland Adoption and Foster Care.

The Walkers foster babies between 0-3-years-old, as well as caring for a 16-year-old and having two children of their own. Linda said: “We have always fostered young babies.

“Our children were so young when we started, we had the experience of parenting for babies, and this never really changed.

“Our kids grew up with us as Foster Carers, and it has been great for them too. They always adapted so well and helped them appreciate just how lucky they are to be from a loving family.”

Not only is Linda busy fostering, she also has been helping the local community during the current pandemic.

“It’s difficult for us all as we are kept in the house, but it’s harder on the kids. I’ve been parcelling up food for the local community for those in need.It gets me out for a couple of hours to help others.

HSC Northern Ireland Adoption and Foster Care have been great in supporting us during the lockdown. We haven’t been able to meet up with other foster carers like we usually do, but our social worker has been in touch on a weekly basis.”

“If you’re considering fostering my advice is to take the leap,” Linda continues. “I am so glad we did over 19 years ago.

“It brings us so much joy, happiness and the rewards are amazing. We still keep in touch with some of the children who have left us through photos and messages.

“If you could open your heart and home to a wee one, do it. You could try short breaks to begin with; there are so many options.

Pick up the phone and find out more. You will not regret it. Give a child the start in life they deserve.”

Kathleen Toner, Director of The Fostering Network in Northern Ireland, said: “Foster Care Fortnight is the perfect time for us to show how much we value and support Foster Carers across Northern Ireland.

“We have seen many acts of generosity and kindness since the current crisis began and this has included people reaching out to support vulnerable families. Becoming a foster carer would be an incredible way for people, to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children and young people.”

Una Carragher, Principal Social Worker, HSC Northern Ireland Adoption and Foster Care, said: “Foster Care Fortnight is an ideal opportunity to celebrate everything that is good about Foster Care.

“Foster Care supports families, helps build resilience in children and young people, and helps prepare them for their future place in society.

“The incredible commitment of Foster Carers across Northern Ireland is invaluable to so many children and young people, and there is always a need for more compassionate and loving people to come forward and become Foster Carers.

“If you think you could be the Foster Carer who makes the difference to a child’s life we would love to hear from you. We welcome applications from all backgrounds regardless of race, religion, language, culture, gender, disability, age or sexual orientation.

“There are a range of options for anyone considering Foster Care, including long term, short term, fostering an unaccompanied child or young person, and more.”

To find out more about fostering with HSC Northern Ireland Adoption & Foster Care click here.

To get in touch to find out more or to start your journey please click here to fill in our online enquiry form or call us today on 0800 0720 137.

Please click here to see full article in Derry Journal.