Skip to Main Content Skip to Site Map Skip to Accessibility Statement

Foster Care Fortnight Launched at Stormont

13th May 2024

HSC NI Foster Care were proud to co-launch Foster Care FortnightTM today 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 us to celebrate our fantastic foster carers, reaffirm our commitment to do the best for children and young people, and also encourage more people to consider fostering.

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.”

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

Where possible, we 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.

Kathleen Toner, Director of The Fostering Network said: “Foster Care Fortnight is an opportunity to show we value the fostering community but also need to highlight what needs to change in the future. Foster carers in Northern Ireland are extremely dedicated to supporting children and young people. It is vital we retain those we have, as well as recruit new foster carers.”

Our 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.

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 its 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 our fostering community, call us on 0800 0720 137 or complete our online enquiry form.