Hanafin launches publication celebrating Foster Care
Minister for Children Mary Hanafin T.D. today (Friday 22 February 2002), at the Waterford Institute of Technology, launched a special edition of the Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies entitled “A Celebration of Foster Care”.
“Families and family life are very important for all children and the opportunity to experience the qualities of family life is one of the main objectives of the National Children´s Strategy. For those children who cannot be looked after in their own families, and therefore need to be provided with alternative care, foster care provides the best hope of experiencing family life. At present there are almost 3,500 children in foster care. Publications such as this, which highlight the importance of foster care, are therefore to be welcomed” the Minister said.
Minister Hanafin said that in order to meet the Government’s commitment to implement the recommendations in the Report of the Working Group on Foster Care, a restructured foster care payment scheme was introduced last year, which now ensures that each foster family receives €270.50 (£213.05) per week for a foster child under twelve and €296.50 (£233.51) per week for a child of twelve and over.
“My Department is committed to maintaining and constantly striving to improve the standards in relation to the delivery of services so as to ensure the delivery of high quality services for children, their families and foster carers” stated the Minister. “In order to ensure the highest quality of care nationally, the Report recommended that National Standards on Practices and Procedures should be drawn up. I believe that this is the single most important recommendation in the Report and for that reason I requested the Social Services Inspectorate to establish a committee to draw up these standards.”
Minister Hanafin stated that she was pleased to note that the issue of Aftercare is addressed in this publication on foster care. “Aftercare is a major part of both the Report of the Working Group on Foster Care and of the Youth Homelessness Strategy which was launched last October” she said.
Minister Hanafin also outlined the importance of family support services as a vital part of the Child Care services spectrum. “In support of the provisions of the Children Act, 2001, my Department has undertaken to extend and increase family support and parenting services nationwide, assisting people to cope with the pressure of their lives, and potentially reducing the need for children to be taken into care” said the Minister.