NI couple Johnjoe and Gareth talk about ‘rewarding experience” after fostering two young boys

Gareth and Johnjoe.
Gareth and Johnjoe.

A couple from Larne have described the “rewarding experience” of fostering two young boys as the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service launches a new campaign to encourage more people to become foster carers.

Johnjoe and Gareth explored the option with the Northern Trust almost three years ago and have since gone on to provide a home for their two foster children.

Johnjoe said: “It took several months to become foster carers, from our very first meeting with the social worker to getting approval from the foster panel.

“The team at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust have been amazing and so supportive.

“Our social worker arranges visits with the children’s birth family to help them keep in touch. The most rewarding part of fostering for us has been seeing the boys grow in confidence, settle in at home, get along like brothers and make new friends.”

Gareth said: “Becoming foster carers has made such a difference to our lives; our world revolves around the children now. This summer, we enjoyed our first holiday away together in Spain. We arranged their passports and had the best fun at the beach, water parks and theme parks.”

There are more than 3,000 children and young people in foster care in Northern Ireland.

Una Carragher, principal Social Worker, Regional Adoption and Fostering Service, said: “We welcome enquiries regardless of race, religion, language, culture, gender, disability, age and sexual orientation. Like Johnjoe and Gareth, we also welcome applications from same sex couples and anyone from the LGBTQ community.”

For further information, contact the Regional Adoption and Fostering Service on 08000720137 or www.adoptionandfostering.hscni.net