Northern Ireland news

Foster carer appeal launches across the north

Health Minister Michelle O'Neill with the HSC's fostering mascots and HSC foster carers

AN appeal for more foster carers has been launched across the north amid concerns children are having to remain in care.

The north's health and social care (HSC) trusts have commissioned a new TV advert to encourage the public to find out more about fostering.

The trusts said fostering gives children who cannot live with their own families a safe and stable home and allows them to develop.

People can apply to foster regardless of their martial or employment status or whether they have their own children. The trusts said applications are considered irrespective of factors including race, religion and sexual orientation.

Lending her support to the campaign, Health Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “We need more foster carers because the rate at which children and young people are leaving care is less than that for children and young people being admitted to care; also children are staying in care for longer periods.

"I am committed to ensuring that foster carers are supported and retained for those children and young people for whom foster placements are the best way of providing care."

Una Carragher, manager of HSC Regional Adoption and Fostering Service, urged would-be foster parents not to rule themselves out.

"Fostering doesn’t necessarily require a full time commitment –we have foster carers caring for children of all ages for anything from a few days to the rest of their childhood," she said.

HSC foster carers receive ongoing training, financial allowances and 24 hour social work support.

To find out more about fostering, call HSC Regional Adoption and Fostering Service on 0800 0720 137 or visit www.adoptionandfostering.hscni.net

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