Chance to help change young lives as Foster Care Fortnight begins
The largest foster carer recruiting drive of the year has got under way, with an urgent call for more families across Northern Ireland to consider changing a child's life for the better.
Foster Care Fortnight - which runs from May 8 to 21 - raises awareness of the fantastic work of the 2,000 foster families across the province.
It was launched by The Fostering Network in partnership with the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service at an event hosted by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.
Foster carers are ordinary people who make an extraordinary difference to the lives of children and young people in foster care.
And the children can also enrich the lives of those who help them.
"As a family, we have gained more from fostering than we ever thought possible," said foster carers Laura and Mark.
There is an urgent need for more foster families, and in Foster Care Fortnight there is a particular call for those who feel they could care for a sibling group, a child with a disability or a teenager.
The audience at the launch heard from 20-year-old Angela, who was fostered for 10 years.
She said: "To anyone who is 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.
"And it's also a time of celebration of the positive achievements of fostering, how it touches children's lives, and changes their lives for the better."
If you are caring, resilient, flexible and have the time and space in your life to care for a child or young person, The Fostering Network wants to hear from you.
Contact it on 028 9070 5056, or the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service on 0800 0720 137, or visit www.adoptionandfostering.hscni.net