Minister Lenihan launches ‘Lives in Foster Care’
Speaking today (Thursday, 8th Dec 2005) at the launch of ‘Lives in Foster Care’, a major new research study on the educational and social support experiences of young people aged 13 to 14 years in long term foster care, Minister Brian Lenihan stated that: “The broad ranging information contained in ‘Lives in Foster Care’ provides a secure platform from which we can fundamentally examine and review existing services and points to areas of future research, which I have no doubt will prove beneficial to the planning and delivery of foster care.”
The study was conducted by the Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College Dublin and was funded by the National Children’s Office. It involved interviewing the foster carers of over 200 children in long term foster care aged 13-14 years on the young persons educational experiences, contact with birth family, friendships and hobbies. “The recommendations help provide a good basis against which to measure improvements in this area” the Minister said.
There are over 4,500 children in foster care nationally representing 90% of children in the care of the Health Service Executive. The Government is committed to the continued implementation of the Report of the Working Group on Foster Care, 2001 which makes recommendations on the development and support of foster care services.
The National Standards for Foster Care, 2003 have a major role to play in ensuring that the foster care placements are adequately supported and that children in foster care are receiving the best possible care. The Standards focus on the following crucial areas:
- The quality and consistency of services for children and young people in foster care
- Standards and practices related to foster carers
- Guidance to health boards on how they can effectively meet their statutory obligations
“I am heartened to see that the study produced positive findings on the daily lives of this young group of foster children in the areas of schooling, friendships and hobbies. The study found that in the whole the young people were leading regular lives” the Minister for Children, Brian Lenihan TD said.