Press Release

Hanafin appeals for more Foster Carers

The Minister for Children, Mary Hanafin has appealed for more foster carers to provide a place in their home for children in need of care.

“Foster care is a crucial element of our whole child welfare system and last year of the 4,404 children in care, 3,424 were in foster care. The health boards have identified over 300 children in need of foster carers, children who deserve the love and support of a family” the Minister said.

“This number is unacceptably high and I am making an appeal for more foster carers to come forward to provide a place in their home for children in need of foster care; These vulnerable and often troubled children can get the support they need in a family environment that they cannot get in their own homes” Minister Hanafin said.

Minister Hanafin was speaking today (Saturday, 3rd November 2001) in Tullamore at the annual conference of the Irish Foster Care Association, the theme of which is ´Daring to Care in a Changing Society´.

Acknowledging the constant challenge and responsibility accepted by foster carers the Government has already started to implement the recent report “Foster Care – A Child Centred Partnership”. A payment of £200 per week per child under 12 years is now being paid and £220 for children over 12 years.

“At my request, the Social Services Inspectorate has also established a sub-committee to draw up Standards on Practices and Procedures in Foster Care and I have also requested health boards, as the Statutory Agencies with responsibility for foster care, to submit plans to strengthen and develop services necessary for the full implementation of the Report´s recommendations” explained Minister Hanafin.

Minister Hanafin congratulated the Irish Foster Care Association on their work and noted that “the key to success in any endeavour is a willingness to learn, to share ideas and experiences in order to grow; as carers, we appreciate the value of sharing knowledge and experiences to constantly enhance the service we can offer our children”.

“Foster care is a critically important part of the child welfare and protection services, as well as an example of civic and social commitment at it´s best, and our aim must be to constantly improve and expand that service” concluded Minister Mary Hanafin T.D.