On Saturday, Yvonne Worsell, a foster carer with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, was presented with The Fostering Network’s Outstanding Contribution to Foster Care Award at the annual Northern Ireland Foster Care Awards. The awards are hosted by The Fostering Network in partnership with the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service.
Yvonne has been fostering for the last 12 years and goes above and beyond for fostering. She has fostered ten children throughout this time and currently looks after two brothers long term. Yvonne believes in the importance of helping children find their voice and spends time with each child, finding out their needs and developing unique approaches for each child.
Yvonne’s fostering journey has not always been plain sailing, however. Last Christmas she was diagnosed with a serious illness. Yvonne thought that all festivities would be cancelled because of her stay in hospital, but her family had other plans. Wrapped in fairy lights and singing Christmas carols, her sons and fostered children came to the hospital to spend the holidays with her.
Yvonne said: ‘I love all my children unconditionally and that night I felt all that love, care and support come back to me in abundance. I get so much back from the children I care for and it’s a privilege to have been able look after them. I tell the children, “I am rich because I have you”.’
Kevin Kane, Yvonne’s social worker who nominated her, said: ‘Yvonne is a shining example of someone who is selfless and caring. She makes an immensely positive difference to the lives of the young people she cares for.’
Kathleen Toner, director of The Fostering Network in Northern Ireland, said: ‘Yvonne is an inspiration to all of us. She is passionate beyond measure about fostering and the children she cares for are at the heart of every decision she makes.’
Una Carragher, manager of the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service, said: ‘Congratulations to Yvonne on this much deserved win. The Northern Ireland Foster Care Awards provide an opportunity for Health and Social Care Trusts to celebrate the enormous contribution that all foster carers make to the lives of our children and young people.’