Belfast Telegraph

Foster Care Fortnight 2017 launched at a celebratory event in Belfast

The Regional Adoption and Fostering Service in partnership with The Fostering Network launched Foster Care Fortnight 2017 at an event hosted this year by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

Foster Care Fortnight marks the largest recruitment drive of the year and is a UK wide recruitment event. Foremost, it is a celebratory event to highlight the positive achievements of Fostering, how it touches children’s lives, and changes their lives for the better. This year’s event is celebrating publicly that we are #Proud to Foster and #Proud to support Fostering.

Carol Diffin, Belfast Trust Co Director Child Health/Child Care said “Belfast Trust is delighted to host the launch of Foster Care Fortnight 2017. It is an opportunity to acknowledge publicly the vital job which foster carers do in providing Looked after Children with a stable, loving family life so that they can reach their full potential”.

Foster Carers support families, they help heal the pain children and young people carry, they nurture then to build their resilience both physically and emotionally and restore in them a sense of love and belonging of a family life which is inevitably helps them grow to be the best they can be.

Foster Care Fortnight raises the awareness and appreciates the fantastic work of the 2000 foster families across Northern Ireland. To increase the number of foster families we invite members of the public to consider becoming foster carers. We are particularly interested in hearing from those who feel they could care for a sibling group, a child with a disability or a teenager.

The large audience at the launch hear from 20 year old Angela who was fostered for 10 years. She said: “I have loved with Josephine and Sean for the past 10 years. They have been absolutely brilliant and so supportive. They brought me into their family and I became one of them. To help me grow in my social skills, Josephine arranged for me to go on an outdoor adventure course to meet some local young people and make new friends. I was so nervous as I had never been given opportunities to do anything like this before. I can honestly say it was amazing. To anyone considering fostering, I would say please go and explore your options. It is so rewarding to your family and the young people involved. You could change their lives and yours!”

Kathleen Toner, Director of The Fostering Network in Northern Ireland said “Foster Care Fortnight, is intended to value and celebrate foster carers. If you gave fostering a thought now is the time to come forward and make a difference to a child’s life”.

If you are caring, resilient, flexible and have the time and space in your life to care for a child or young person we would be happy to hear from you. Please phone the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service on 0800 0720 137 or visit www.adoptionandfostering.hscni.net

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