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Transforming Foster Carer Recruitment

16th March 2020

With over 3,300 Children and young people in the care system in Northern Ireland it is vital that we recruit more foster carers, at the HSC Northern Ireland Adoption And Foster Care Service have taken a transformative approach acting as a region wide service to recruit and to break down barriers surrounding fostering.

To support this recruitment drive we have launched a new user friendly website and social media platforms. We are also holding events across Northern Ireland where anybody considering becoming a Foster Carer has the chance to ask questions and to be provided with information on topics such as training and support before any commitment is made to becoming a Foster Carer

At a recent event to celebrate the launch of the new regional service we caught up with Norma And David Tennis, A couple who have been fostering with the South Eastern Trust for over thirty years, here’s what the Tennis’ have to say on their experience:

Norma Tennis, with over thirty years’ experience working with HSC Northern Ireland Adoption and Foster Care, describes what fostering has meant for her and husband David: “We have been opening the door of our home to foster children for thirty years and counting, during this time we have cared for children of all ages, children with disabilities, children in emergency circumstances, short break arrangements and longer term situations. We have positive memories of each and every child and have enjoyed supporting children in all aspects of their development from improving their diets to their education, sporting pursuits and even graduating from university”.

David explained that the couples experience as Foster Carers has been a life changing and enriching experience for the entire Tennis family “While we have three birth children we happily consider our family to be much larger as many of our foster children have remained permanent additions to the household, we also believe that fostering has had a very positive impact on our own children have greatly benefited from growing up with children from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.”

The Couple encourages everyone to consider becoming a foster carer. Norma continued:”The mutual support from other Foster Carers has been invaluable and the support has resulted in many new friendships.” If you’ve considered fostering, we say “Go for it! There’ll be ups and downs but you’ll find it very rewarding and will get more out of it than you put in”.

Una Carragher, Principal Social Worker, HSC Northern Ireland Adoption and Foster Care explained: “The key message is that if anyone is even thinking about fostering, we would love to hear from them.  We’re aiming to make that as easy as possible with a single hotline (0800 0720 137) and our new user-friendly website.  Our team are here to answer any questions, to allay concerns and to provide support for these really important carers.”

Bria Mongan, Director of Children’s Services and Executive Director of Social Work South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust said: ““I am delighted to bring to the South Eastern Trust this celebration of the launch of the HSC Northern Ireland Adoption And Foster Care, one single consistent regional brand to recruitment.

This approach will make it easier for individuals interested in Fostering to navigate their way around the system and for the system to respond as one, having now established a firm foundation which will enable us to move forward we can evolve the service and react to the ever changing and demanding landscape.

HSC Northern Ireland Adoption and Foster Care welcome enquires regardless of race, religion, language, culture, gender, disability, age or sexual orientation and they provide 24-hour support to all foster carers on an ongoing basis.

If you would like to find out how you can brighten a child’s world please click here.