At Foster Care Ireland, We believe that continuous and carefully selected training programs lead to longterm successful placements. We will invest in our staff team’s education and training. We will also invest in our parents, providing up-to-date professional training.

What is Fostering?

Fostering provides a safe, stable, secure and nurturing family environment for children and young people who are unable to live with their own parents or relatives. Foster carers look after other people’s children, caring for them on a daily basis. The support foster carers provide can make a real difference to a child’s life and help them reach their full potential. It is hugely rewarding to watch foster children blossom. As their self-esteem grows, they begin to trust others, believe in themselves and in their capacity to achieve and fulfil their potential. Although fostering can be challenging, Foster Care Ireland is devoted to providing you the support you need every step of the way. For more information on the supports we provide see Support from Foster Care Ireland.
Foster carers can provide a safe, stable environment for children that they may never have experienced. By providing stability, foster care gives children a second chance to experience family living and help with psychological or behavioural issues that could develop in the absence of a safe and secure environment for a child to flourish. A child in care may not have had an opportunity to stay at the same school for long periods or may have experienced difficulties in school. By providing a stable home life, children benefit from having less to worry about, helping them to focus better on school work, and eventually improve their academic abilities. The relationship between foster children and their birth parents remains strong, even when the child has been placed in care. Carers support a child through the difficult period of being separated from their family and friends, while also facilitating them to keep in contact with their birth families. To achieve the maximum benefits for the child and facilitate a high quality of care, Foster Care Ireland provides foster carers with a high level of support including social work support, financial support, assistance and training in managing contact with birth families, and other supports to positively meet any difficulties that may arise. For further information on the supports and training available you can visit our supports page.
We at FCI recognise that foster caring is as rewarding as it is challenging. Providing stability, encouragement, support and guidance to a child when he or she needs it most is one of the most positive aspects of fostering. Knowing the profound impact that comes from offering care and security in a young person’s life is one of the most important motivations for our foster carers. Foster caring is a powerful way of helping others and giving back to the community. Many people would like to contribute to their community and be given an opportunity to help others and watch them learn and grow. Money should never be the driving force to fostering, but the monetary allowances will help you to provide a high quality of care for the foster child. It also makes it possible for you to open up your home and allow the child to benefit from an opportunity that might not otherwise be available. Fostering offers opportunities to expand your skills through the training that we provide. It will help you to deliver a high service to young people in your care and some of the skills learnt will be transferable across other areas of your life. Carers and their families benefit from their involvement with fostering. Sometimes fostering leads to long term placements or develop relationships that can last a lifetime. Learning to form lasting attachments is an important lesson in young children’s lives and contributes to healthier adult relationships. Healthy attachment to a caregiver in the earliest years can literately change a person’s life trajectory. When a strong bond has been made this is the ultimate reward for both carers and young people in care. Undoubtedly there are difficulties in fostering, but by concentrating on the benefits it is not hard to understand why carers carry on fostering for many years. The satisfaction and pride in helping a young person with difficulties develop into a rounded individual is the ultimate reward for the majority of foster carers.
Children are placed in the care of the State when their birth parents or someone else who has parental responsibility is unable to cope or provide safe care for them. This may due to a variety of reasons including neglect, abuse, mental health concerns, parental addiction issues, domestic violence, family breakdown relationship problems and other issues. Of the children who are received into state care in Ireland:
  • 34% come from families with alcohol and/or drug addictions.
  • 14% have experienced child neglect and/or physical abuse.
  • 11% have been abandoned on a temporary or permanent basis by their birth parents.
  • Children whose parents experience a physical or psychiatric illness make up 9% of those in care.
  • 9% are in care due to insurmountable difficulties in the child/parent relationship. Contrary to public perception, only 5% of children in care are admitted due to their experience of child sexual abuse within their families.
Children can be fostered from birth up to 18 years of age. In general, up to 40% of children in care are under the age of five, 40% are between the ages of six and 12, around 18% are between 13 and 16, and the remaining 2% are aged from 17 to 18. Boys make up 51% of children in care and girls 49%. While there are slightly more boys placed in residential care, in general gender does not affect placement type. The HSE has limited statistics on the length of time children spend in care. It does record however that 1,983 (43%) of children have been in care for 5 years or more.

Why foster with Foster Care Ireland?

A diverse range of foster families are needed to support and care for children and young people in Ireland. At Foster Care Ireland we have a dedicated and committed team of social workers to support you every step of the way. We have access to specialist team of support workers and therapists and will provide an individual wrap around package to support the child in your care and help you with the necessary skills to meet their needs.

Becoming a foster carer is a big decision. It will impact on your life, you family’s life, and the young person in your care. To help you manage this process, Foster Care Ireland will develop a Support Plan that is specific to your family’s needs and the child in your care.

One of the best ways to understand what is involved in becoming a foster carer is by talking to families that are going  through the process themselves. That is why we run “The Foundation for Foster” training course. This will allow you to develop a better understanding of the challenges of fostering, meet with other prospective carers, share experiences, and learn more about foster care.

In addition, once approved with Foster Care Ireland you will have access to the following support;

  • A support social worker to work with you
  • Access to a tailored training programme to enhance your skills and experiences
  • Out of hours support
  • Membership of the Irish Foster Care Association
  • Fostering allowance for each child in placement
  • Access to therapeutic services to support the child and equip you the skills needed
  • Access to Foster Carer Support Groups

Training courses are also available depending on the need of you, your family, or the child in your care. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Attachment
  • Challenging behaviours
  • Children First and Safe Caring
  • First aid

Testimonials

Some links to articles:

The Irish Independent, 26 April 2016, ‘What’s it like to open your home to a foster child?’: http://www.independent.ie/storyplus/whats-it-like-to-open-your-home-to-a-foster-child-34660856.html

The Irish Times, 28 April 2015, Fostering: ‘Hard work, heartache and the highest of highs’: http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/parenting/fostering-hard-work-heartache-and-the-highest-of-highs-1.2182325

The Journal, 11 November 2014, Opinion: ‘I used to think foster parents were very special people. I now know they are very ordinary people.’: http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/foster-care-ireland-1772644-Nov2014/

The Independent, 21 February 2016, ‘Foster parent explains why the benefits of care work both ways’: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/foster-care-parent-explains-benefits-of-fostering-work-both-ways-a6887736.html