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Fermanagh foster champions talk of ‘rewarding’ experience of fostering

21st September 2019

A couple from Lisbellaw have described the ‘rewarding experience’ of fostering many children over 20 years as the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service launches new campaign to encourage more people to become foster carers through the Health and Social Care Trusts. Jean and Ivan Henry have gone on to provide a loving and stable home for a number of foster children in the Western Trust area.

Jean and Ivan Henry who have been foster carers for over twenty years

Jean and Ivan Henry have been foster carers for over twenty years

Jean says: “We have been fostering for over 20 years and in that time we have given many children a home through long-term placements. All of the children we have fostered have moved on either to go to work or university, and we keep in touch so we know how they are getting on with their lives.

“One of our foster children, Titto, came to us when he was 12 years old from India. He lived with us for several years until he started university. Titto and my son became so close that he was best man at my son’s wedding. He gave the most amazing speech; it was just lovely and very heartfelt. Titto even changed his surname by deed poll to ours. We are looking forward to seeing him soon to celebrate his birthday. He still comes home to visit us at least once a year, and we have been across the water to see him too. We could not be prouder of Titto and when he got a place at university in London, we took the ferry, drove him over with all his stuff, and got him settled in.

“Like any family we have had our ups and down, however the good times by far outweigh any bad ones. We have found fostering so rewarding; it really has enriched our lives and has been an amazing journey so far.”

The Regional Adoption and Fostering Service is currently seeking to recruit foster carers to meet the growing demand of children and young people living in care. Currently there are more than 3,000 children and young people in foster care in Northern Ireland.

Una Carragher, Principal Social Worker, Regional Adoption and Fostering Service said: “There are many myths about who can and cannot foster. We welcome enquiries regardless of race, religion, language, culture, gender, disability, age and sexual orientation.

“We are looking for people who can open up their hearts and homes to provide care for children and young people. Foster carers must be willing to offer a safe and secure home where children and young people feel valued, respected and cared for.”

If you have ever considered fostering, or would like further information on how to become a foster carer, then please contact the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service on 0800 0720 137 or click here.