Every week in the Western Trust two children are taken in to care, resulting in Kieran Downey, Director of Women and Children’s Services at the Western Trust, emphasising the very urgent need for more foster carers.

There are currently 627 looked after children and young people in the Western Trust, and Foster Care Fortnight is aiming to increase awareness of the need for more foster carers, and recognise the central role that existing foster carers play in providing stable, caring homes for vulnerable children and young people.

Kieran explained, ‘Foster carers care for children who cannot live with their own families. They provide alternative care where children can benefit from a loving, safe and stable home. They are committed to guiding the most vulnerable children, helping them build resilience and confidence for the years ahead. Some of these children require care for a short time, others need nurturing homes until they reach independence.

‘The trust is urgently looking for people who want to make a difference to the lives of children and young people by becoming foster carers.’

Meanwhile, Vanessa Nelis, Fostering Recruitment Officer for the Western Trust, said, ‘We are asking the public during Foster Care Fortnight to come and meet our staff at our information evenings. If you have previously thought about fostering in the past and never followed this up with us and you are now in a position to provide safe, stable and nurturing home for vulnerable children and young people then we would love to speak to you. I would encourage anyone with any questions to come along.

‘Being a foster carer can be a really rewarding and enriching experience. Recently, we asked some of our children and young people what their foster home meant to them.

The feedback was extremely positive with comments including ‘fun and loving; comfortable and cosy; I have enjoyed every minute of it; they are wonderful and caring people.’’

Vanessa added, ‘People often think they can’t foster because they are single, work, or are too old, but none of these things matter. People from all walks of life can foster – don’t rule yourself out. If you are resilient, flexible and have the energy, time, commitment and feel that you could help a child to grow and develop through your care and support, then come along to our information evenings and find out more.’

The Western Trust’s information evenings take place on the following dates:

Tuesday 15th May 2018, Silverbirch Hotel, Omagh

Tuesday 22nd May 2018, Da Vinci’s Hotel, Derry / Londonderry

Thursday 24th May 2018, Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen

For more information, contact Vanessa Nelis, Western Trust Fostering Recruitment Officer, on 028 8283 5264 / 7131 4244 or email Vanessa.nelis@westerntrust.hscni.net.

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