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Urgent Need for Foster Carers in County Kildare

The Health Service Executive in County Kildare is looking for families to supply supported lodgings, emergency accommodation and longer foster placements for children and teenagers throughout the county.


Mary Cummins of the HSE’s Family Placement Initiative said that committed families, with an interest in child welfare were required for children of all ages, but particularly teenagers.

Placements can range from an overnight stay to a number of years in some cases.

In recent weeks, the HSE has required foster placements for up to 10 children in a week.

“Children are placed with a foster carer, within their own communities if possible, when their own parents are unable to care for them due to the parents’ personal difficulties,” Ms Cummins explained.

“In other cases, some children may need to be protected where neglect or abuse has taken place or where they may be at risk of neglect or abuse. In the case of teenagers, their relationship with their parents may have broken down as a result of problems within the family,” she added.

Ms Cummins points out that there is a particular need for foster homes for teenagers.

“In our experience, people with very young children can be very successful in looking after teenagers. Teenagers don’t need the same level of parenting as young children, but they do need care and support. Equally people who have raised their own children and brought them through their teens have a wealth of experience to offer or indeed people who have worked with teenagers in different.settings,” she said.

“Teens need a safe place, where their needs will be respected and where boundaries are set. Often they just need time away from their own parents to sort out what has gone wrong with the relationship,”.

Angela, a foster carer for the past 12 years, has looked after many teenagers in her home from periods of one night to, in one case, four years.

“When I started fostering I had very young children of my own, so I thought it would be best to foster a different age group to my own children. It is hugely rewarding work. When you see a young person change from a timid person with low self-esteem to someone who goes on to do their leaving cert and have the confidence to set up on their own it is very satisfying,”

Angela continues to foster teenagers. .

“You can communicate with them, and we have a lot of laughs. Really, they don’t want you to be their mother, but they do prefer to have rules, it shows someone cares about them. Simple things like attending their parent teacher meetings at school really shows them someone is looking out for them.”

The HSE provides a range of supports to foster parents including training, and a weekly allowance to care for the child, which does not affect other welfare payments or income. New foster families are assigned a link social worker to provide help and advice, and a dedicated foster team can be contacted for support. Foster parents are also encouraged to join a fostering support group.

Fostering is open to both singles and couples, those with children and without, and people who work inside or outside of home, as long as they are present in the home when the child is home. People from all religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds are eligible to work as foster carers.

The HSE run regular information meetings for people interested in fostering. For further details or to register interest, telephone Kildare (045) 896120/896114, or Dublin (01) 620 6350.