Minister Lenihan opens the Annual Conference of the Irish Foster Care Association
Brian Lenihan T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, to-day (Saturday, 30th October 2004) opened the Annual Conference of the Irish Foster Care Association at the Grand Hotel, Malahide.
The Minister praised the work of the Association, which since its inception 23 years ago has provided support for foster carers, and has developed over the years into an organisation providing a range of training programmes on many aspects of foster care. The Minister particularly commended the publication earlier this year of ‘New Beginnings’, a training course for the children of foster carers stating “I was really delighted to see a training programme for the children of fostering families. The children of foster carers are often the unsung heroes of the fostering service”
The Minister spoke of the importance of foster care for those children who cannot be looked after in their own homes noting “Studies have shown that the development of a child is best achieved in a loving family environment, which foster care can provide”.
The Minister referred to the ongoing development of Aftercare services and to the “Guidelines for Health Boards – Developing a Leaving and Aftercare Policy” which were recently developed by The Youth Homelessness Strategy Monitoring Committee and circulated to the Health Boards. “I would like to assure you that I will continue to emphasise the importance of the development of such services for the benefit of all the young people leaving our care system,” he remarked.