Press Release

Hanafin Announces Funding for Foster Care Study

Mary Hanafin TD, Minister for Children today (9 February, 2001) announced £75,000 funding for a major new three year study on foster care.

The study entitled ‘The Educational and Social Support Experiences of Young People in Long-term Foster Care’ is being undertaken by Robbie Gilligan, director of the Children’s Research Centre in Trinity College Dublin. The money is being made available through the National Children’s Office which has been established under the National Children’s Strategy.

The announcement was made at the launch of ‘Hand in Hand’, the book of proceedings of the International Foster Care Organisation’s bicentennial European Conference which was hosted by the Irish Foster Care Association in Cork in August 2000.

Speaking at the launch the Minister said “Foster care is a crucial and much valued part of our child care service recognising the principle that a child is best looked after in a family. Foster carers ensure that love and protection is given to approximately 3,300 children who cannot receive this in their own families.”

This major study, which will be the first study of its kind in Ireland and will yield important evidence about the working of our Foster Care system. Such research is one of the key recommendations of the Report of the Working Group on Foster Care, which is due for publication shortly.

It is hoped that the information gleaned will contribute to future policy development and improvement.

The research programme of the National Children’s Office, under which this study will be funded, is intended to promote policy related research, which will directly contribute to policy development and the improvement of services for children.

The study itself will seek to deepen knowledge of the educational and social support experiences of young people in care, with a view to improving understanding of how better to intervene effectively in the lives of young people in these respects.

The Minister concluded by reiterating her commitment to Foster Care services, and congratulating all involved both in the Book of Proceedings, and in the day-to-day operation of Foster Care services in Ireland.