Support for Foster Carers

We are here to help you during the foster care process. Training designed specifically for the challenges and rewards of foster caring is seen as an integral part of the fostering process.

We have developed a broad training schedule which covers all aspects of fostering, and is continually updated and renewed based on new legislation, community and societal changes, and the ongoing challenges facing children and young people in Foster Care.

We hope through training, we can offer constructive and confidence building information to all applicants to ensure they feel informed and supported at all stages. The training programme is available to all Foster Carers in order that they stay updated and educated on all things relevant to their role as carers.

Find out more about Foster Care Training Opportunities
Find out more about our Foster Care Community 

Support groups can offer a much needed opportunity to share concerns, answer questions, and make connections with other Foster Carers. These groups are often attended by carers who have in depth experience, knowledge and expertise gained over years in fostering and who can offer invaluable support to new Foster Carers.

You will have a supervising social worker, who will be allocated to you from your local fostering team. Their role is to supervise and support you when children and young people are in your care. You will meet with them regularly and they are always just a phone call away.

We also have a ‘Fostering in a Digital World’ Safeguarding App. It enables Foster Carers to be more comfortable and familiar with technology so they can approach and safeguard the young people in their care. To download the App on the Apple Store click here. To download the Android App on Google Play click here.

If you do not have a smartphone and you aren’t able to download the ‘Fostering in a Digital World’ Safeguarding App please contact your supervising social worker who will be able to assist you in getting the information in an alternative format.

Further information on the Fostering in a Digital World Safeguarding app can be viewed through the following videos
Overview of the app
Section walkthrough of the app

The Fostering Network is a voluntary agency in Northern Ireland who provides support to Foster Carers.

Outside normal office hours, there is an out of hours service which is called the Regional Emergency Social Work Service. Click here to see more about this service.

To find a Foster Care support group near you, choose from the below options;


  • Belfast area

    Support and Development
    Frequency: Monthly
    Contact: June Martin

    Adolescent Partnership support group
    Frequency: Bi-Monthly
    Contact: Sharon Hayward

    Kinship foster carer support group
    Frequency: Alternate Wednesdays
    Contact: Carlene McCullough

  • Northern area

    Carrickfergus support group
    Contact: 028 93315111

    Magherafelt support group
    Contact: 028 79366840

    Ballymoney support group
    Contact: 0300 123 1155

    Ballymoney kinship support group
    Contact: 028 27661521

    Join the Northern area support group on Facebook. Connect with other Foster Carers and share tips & resources. Register your interest by emailing tracy.mcafee@northerntrust.hscni.net

  • South Eastern area

    Down & Lisburn Support Groups
    Frequency: One evening per month
    Contact: Paula Hall
    Locations: Grove House, Ballynahinch
    Warren Children’s Centre, Lisburn

    Bangor Support Group
    Frequency: One evening bi monthly
    Contact:  Roisin Maguire,
    Location: Bangor Community Hospital

    Intensive Support Scheme, Support Group
    Frequency: Quarterly
    Contact: Francis Kavanagh
    Location: Grove House, Ballynahinch

    Fostering Positive Family Relationships and Step Up Step Down Schemes Support Group
    Frequency: Bi-monthly
    Contact: Shauna Garvin
    Location: Grove House, Ballynahinch

  • Southern Area

    Southern Area Foster Care Support Group
    Frequency: First Monday of each month (10am—12.30pm)
    Contact: Kelly McAteer
    Tel: 07594172232

  • Western area

    L/Derry fostering support group
    Frequency: Last Tuesday of every month
    Contact: Jacqueline Sharkey (foster carer)
    Tel: 0752 3206 141

    Omagh and Fermanagh fostering support group
    Frequency: Bi-monthly
    Contact: Mary Slevin (foster carer)