There are currently around 4,500 foster carers in Ireland and the irish Foster Care Association (IFCA) was established as a support group. For example the ‘Foundation for Fostering’ training course resource pack was jointly produced by the Association (IFCA) and the HSE. The training course is for prospective foster carers and taking it is now a requirement prior to approval. It consists of eight sections or training sessions which run over two weekends.
The course is delivered by an experienced social worker and a foster carer. It uses real case studies as a learning technique and focusses on practical strategies to address the challenges in foster care. Participation will increase foster carers’ confidence and help copper fasten their commitment to children in need of foster care.
The ‘Foundation for Fostering’ training also provides you with the opportunity to meet with other prospective carers who are going through the same assessment process. As well as the training and support provided through FCI, informal contact between foster carers in the fostering community can be an important source of support.
The Irish Foster Care Association (IFCA) also has voluntary branches in operation throughout the country. They meet on a regular basis to keep members up to date on matters relating to fostering and to organise events with guest speakers, training updates and local events. This is a great way of keeping in contact with the carer community and getting ongoing informal support.