Highlighting all the valuable contributions made in fostering families every day, the launch this week of Fostering Fortnight by the Irish Foster Care Association (IFCA) will aim to raise awareness and understanding of foster care in Ireland.

Taking place from March 2 – 15, Fostering Fortnight is an opportunity to celebrate foster care in Ireland and the benefits that growing up in a family environment can have on children in care. 

This can contribute greatly to better outcomes for children, offering them stability and permanence in a family setting at a time in their lives when they need it most.

New Advocacy Service

The Irish Foster Care Association has launched a new Advocacy Service (funded by Tusla and Pobal) in response to some of the complex and often difficult issues that foster carers experience in their fostering role. 

IFCA’s advocates support foster carers with communication, correspondence and meetings with Tusla and others where issues can be teased out, foster carers voices can be heard, and solutions identified.

The Advocacy Team are working with foster carers to ensure they feel acknowledged, understood and supported. Four advocates will be working across the country, supporting foster carers and working closely with Tusla and other stakeholders.

Tusla’s new Emergency Fostering Support Service number is lo-call 1890 800 511. Professionally qualified social workers, based in Tusla’s national office in Dublin, will take the calls, offer advice, and lead out on a plan of action to mitigate any risks to the safety or wellbeing of the child/young person in care.

Foster care is the backbone of the alternative care system in Ireland. There were 5,971 children in care at the end of November 2019, 92% (5,469) in foster care, 3,924 (66%) in general foster care and 1,545 (26%) of children in relative foster care. 

92% of children in general foster care had an allocated social worker and 88% of children in relative foster care had an allocated social worker.

Feedback positive

Speaking at the launch earlier this week in Cork, Catherine Bond, CEO Irish Foster Care Association, said: “Fostering Fortnight has become such an important two weeks in the calendar for foster care in Ireland.  It creates an awareness around the valuable contributions being made every day by families, social workers and the wider fostering community. 

“We are delighted to launch our new Advocacy Service today also.  This service is available to our members who need support in their fostering role when things get tough. 

“We now have four advocates on the road supporting foster carers across Ireland and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and a much-needed service for foster carers.”

Keep up to date on all the activities taking place across Ireland during Fostering Fortnight, on the IFCA Facebook and Twitter pages.