The Child and Family Agency Tusla is to launch a new public information campaign in Co. Louth to recruit more foster carers, and to dispel the myths around foster care eligibility.
The local campaign is part of Tusla’s first national fostering campaign which aims to remove misconceptions about who can foster a child, and to encourage people from all walks of life in Louth to consider providing a loving environment for a vulnerable child.
Tusla National Fostering Week, which takes place from October 14th-20th, is being supported by the Irish Foster care Association and there will be a fostering information evening on Tuesday, 22nd October 2019 at 6pm at the Tusla Offices, Louth County Hospital Campus, Dundalk.
There will also be county-wide advertisements in national schools and secondary schools, as well as local sports clubs and shops.
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Across county Louth, a total of 142 foster carers currently open their homes to 244 children.
Tusla’s new chief executive, Bernard Gloster, said: “We are looking for foster carers to provide safe and stable environments for children who, due to a range of reasons, can’t live at home.
“It only takes one person to change a child’s life. I would encourage anyone who feels they can provide a stable and safe family environment for a child to think about fostering and join the 4,254 Tusla foster carers around the country that open their homes to 5,511 children.”
Area Manager for Tusla in Louth, Grainne Sullivan, said: “Placing a child in foster care is only done when all other options have been explored including providing intensive family support services to help a child stay within their own family.
“Foster carers in Louth make a huge contribution to local communities by caring for children and supporting them in participating in schools, sports clubs and other activities.
“There is a critical need to have a diverse range of foster carers available who can meet the individual needs of each child. The child’s needs are identified from listening to the views of the child, their parents and families and from other professionals who know the child.
“There are many myths of who can and can’t foster but every child is different and their needs for foster care can be in an emergency, for respite, short term or long term. We are also looking for relatives to consider providing foster care. We are therefore urging anyone who has thought about fostering to contact us so we can discuss any queries they have.”
Tusla is the only statutory provider of foster care in the Republic of Ireland. All foster carers undergo an assessment with regard to their availability and capacity to care for a child/children. Tusla foster carers receive an allowance of €325 per week per child under 12 and €352 per child for a child aged between 12 and 18-years-old, as well as child benefit entitlements. Each child in foster care will have their own medical card.
The Agency will begin operating its first ever national out-of-hours phone service for its foster carers next month. This emergency service has been running successfully in north Dublin as a pilot project since August.
Members of the public in Louth wishing to inquire about fostering during Tusla National Fostering Week can visit fostering.ie for more details, contacting freephone 1800 226 771, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow #Tuslafostering on Tusla’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channels.
CEO of the Irish Foster Care Association(IFCA) Catherine Bond said: “…When a child cannot live with their own family, the best alternative for them is to live within another loving and secure family environment.
“Many foster carers will say that fostering is challenging but extremely rewarding, and to enable these foster families to offer the best they can to a child in their care, they need continuous support and opportunities to meet with other foster carers.
“IFCA provides ongoing support to foster families and the wider fostering community and opportunities for foster carers to network with each other - along with workshops and training. Our National Support Service offers both a telephone helpline and advocacy service specifically for foster carers. We would encourage anyone thinking about fostering to get in touch with Tusla.”