Foster Care Fortnight celebration event supported by Department of Health in Northern Ireland
Foster Care Fortnight 2022, the largest celebration of fostering in Northern Ireland and the UK's biggest fostering awareness raising campaign, was launched on Monday 9 May at an event in Gracehall, Lurgan, by The Fostering Network in partnership with HSC NI Foster Care. The launch included a call for more foster carers throughout Northern Ireland.
Across Northern Ireland, around 265 more fostering families are needed to make sure every child who is not able to live with their own family gets the care they need from foster carers within their own community.
Speaking at the launch event, Peter May, permanent secretary for the Department of Health, said: 'Foster carers provide a home for the vast majority of children in care. They provide much-needed stability and security, and a positive experience of family life. The Department of Health recognises that foster carers are an integral part of the team around the child, and is committed to supporting them in this vital role.'
Kathleen Toner, director of The Fostering Network in Northern Ireland, said: 'Foster Care Fortnight is intended to value and celebrate the tremendous contribution of foster carers and kinship carers, as well as encourage others to think about becoming foster carers.
'If the last two years have taught us anything, it is the need to care for and look out for those in our local community. Foster carers across Northern Ireland go above and beyond for all children in their care, but we need more people across all communities to ensure children don't have to change schools or move far away from their friends and siblings.
'We urgently need more foster carers across every community in Northern Ireland. You can become a foster carer regardless of age, economic situation, gender, sexual orientation or relationship status. If you have ever thought about fostering I would urge you to pick up the phone and start your fostering journey.'
Una Carragher, manager of HSC NI Foster Care said: 'We are delighted to host the launch of Foster Care Fortnight 2022 in partnership with The Fostering Network. It is an opportunity to acknowledge publicly the vital role of foster carers in providing looked after children with a stable and loving family life so that they can reach their full potential.'