Have you ever thought of fostering a child?

Across Cork, 460 foster carers open their homes to more than 780 children. Here, JANICE O’CONNOR Senior Communications Officer / Press Officer with Tusla, tells us about their campaign to mark National Fostering Week
Have you ever thought of fostering a child?

“Tusla is looking for new foster carers to provide safe and stable environments for childre.”

EVER considered fostering a child but thought you wouldn’t be eligible?

Next week, Tusla — Child and Family is running ‘National Fostering Week’ in the hope of recruiting new foster carers. The aim of the week is to challenge common misconceptions about foster care eligibility and encourage people from all walks of life to consider providing a loving home environment for a vulnerable child. The campaign will run from October 14 to 20.

When a child cannot live with their own family, the best alternative for them is to live within another secure family environment. Across Cork city and county, 460 foster carers open their homes and hearts to over 780 children. These foster carers make a huge contribution to the local community by caring for children and supporting them in participating in school, sports clubs and other activities.

Tusla is actively looking for new foster carers to provide safe and stable environments for children who, due to a range of reasons, can’t live at home. Speaking about the initiative Bernard Gloster, Chief Executive, Tusla said: “It only takes one person to change a child’s life. I would encourage anyone who feels they can foster to think about it, and join the 4,254 Tusla foster carers around the country that open their homes to 5,511 children.”

Currently 92% of children in State care are looked after by foster carers. However, the number of Tusla general foster carers has fallen from 2,955 in 2015 to 2,631 to June 2019.

The number of relative carers (those who care for a child of an extended family member) has also fallen from 1,194 to 1,104 in the same period, nationally.

Patricia Finlay, Service Director for Tusla said: “We have a growing population and a growing need to respond to the unique and individual needs of each child. This need is particularly urgent in the Cork area and in other large urban communities across Ireland.

There are many misconceptions around foster care — mainly that foster carers are certain types of people, but the truth is that it only takes one person to change a child’s life. Each child is different, with their own needs and therefore we need foster carers from all walks of life, with different skills and interests.

Barry Murray, Tusla Area Manager for Cork, said “There is a critical need to have a diverse range of foster carers available who can meet the individual needs of each child. Each child is different and each foster carer is different so we are seeking all types of foster carers from different social, economic, and cultural demographics.”

To find out the barriers to the recruitment of foster carers, Tusla commissioned a study which showed that the key issues adversely influencing people interested in foster care were economic factors such as the high cost of living and the current housing supply however, it is important to know that foster carers don’t need to own their own home in order to be eligible and will be supported financially to care for the child.

To raise awareness, Tusla will be holding a number of information events on all aspects of fostering. The events are open to anyone who is interested in hearing more about fostering.

Tuesday, October 15, Information Stand, Wilton Shopping Centre Wilton, Cork City, 10 am to 4 pm

Wednesday, October 16, Information Night on becoming a Foster Carer for Tusla. Bessborough Centre, Vita Building 1st Floor, Training Room 1 from 7pm to 9 pm

Thursday, October 17, Information Stand, Bandon Shopping Centre, Bandon Co. Cork

When applying to become a foster carer, all applicants undergo an assessment with regard to their availability and capacity to care for a child.

Tusla foster carers receive an allowance of €325 per week per child under 12, and €352 per child for a child aged between 12 and 18- years-old, as well as child benefit entitlements. Each child in foster care will have their own medical card.

If you are interested in fostering or want to find out more visit fostering.ie or call freephone 1800 226 771 or email tusla.fostering@tusla.ie. Follow #Tuslafostering on Tusla’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube channels

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