Earlier this week Margaret Ritchie, MP for South Down, met with Glen and Regina Mahon from Downpatrick, County Down, who have been fostering for 15 years and were recently named Foster Carers of the Year by leading charity, The Fostering Network, to discuss foster care in Northern Ireland. The conversation focused particularly on their experiences of foster care, and the benefits well supported foster care can bring to the community.

We would like to congratulate seven members of The Fostering Network who have recently received Birthday honours.

Mr John Palczynski, Mrs Wendy Palczynski, Mrs Carol Ann Smallworth, Mr Raymond Michael Smallworth and Mrs Deloris Collett all received MBEs for services to children and families. Mrs Anne Staniforth and Mr James Howard Staniforth also received a BEM for services to children and families.

The Fostering Network’s innovative Education Champions have recently been praised for their positive impact in an external evaluation report. The evaluation recommended that the Champion role, created as part of the London Fostering Achievement (LFA) programme, should be implemented more widely and The Fostering Network is delighted to be seeking services to partner with to develop this further and raise the educational outcomes and aspirations of looked after children.