Children and young people in care are calling on members of the public who can provide a secure and supportive home and a loving environment to come forward and consider fostering, according to a new survey conducted by The Fostering Network to mark the start of Foster Care Fortnight 2016.
For the fourth year, HSC Regional Adoption and Fostering Service have partnered with The Fostering Network to launch Foster Care Fortnight.
The Fostering Network asked 261 care-experienced children and young people what they considered to be the key qualities and skills needed to foster and how these qualities impacted on their lives.
The top three qualities identified as key to making a good foster carer were making them feel safe and secure (67 per cent); supporting and helping them (61 per cent); loving them (54 per cent).
This Foster Care Fortnight is highlighting the need for 170 new fostering families to come forward in Northern Ireland to give loving homes and supportive family environments to children.
In particular there is an ongoing need for more foster families to provide homes for teenagers, disabled children and sibling groups.
Foster carers are needed across the five Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust areas.
In the Northern Trust area, there are currently 490 children and young people living with foster carers.
Meanwhile, the dedication of three local families has been recognised during the Fostering Network in Northern Ireland’s 2016 Foster Carer of the Year Awards.
Carrickfergus residents William and Adele Costello and Yvonne Strange, along with Jeannie James from Larne, all received the Foster carers of Distinction accolade.