Fostering award for local women

Fostering award for local women

22 June 2022

TWO local foster carers were among a number from across the province formally recognised at the recent Fostering Network’s Northern Ireland Foster Care Awards.

A number of foster carers, including Karen and Fiona Young from the Downpatrick area, were honoured for their outstanding contribution to fostering.

Foster care makes a real difference to children and young people’s lives, with foster carers offering safe and nurturing homes where they can develop, thrive and reach their potential.

Fiona and Karen — who were presented with the “excellence in foster care” award — were nominated by their supervising social worker, Finvola Kelly from the South Eastern Trust’s fostering team. 

Finvola is delighted that the Youngs have been recognised for their wonderful work and said “if you were to give gold stars for parents and foster carers then the Youngs would get the biggest and brightest one”.

Karen and Fiona foster two children and have adopted one child, with Fiona describing how they help their children understand their family dynamic.

She said: “They know they are fostered. We tell them all families are different and different is normal, so we are a normal family. 

“They feel comfortable to be cheeky and chance their arm at times, because that’s part of normal life and it’s great that they feel they can test us, as all kids do.”

Health officials say that with an increase in the number of children and young people coming into care, the need for foster carers is greater than ever. 

“Children and young people may need fostered for a few days or weeks, a few months or until they reach independence, so there are different ways people can help depending on their lifestyle and family circumstances,” they said.

HSC NI Foster Care welcome enquiries to foster from people from all backgrounds regardless of marital, employment or home ownership status, or whether you are a parent or not.

Applications are considered from any race, religion, language, culture, gender, disability, age or sexual orientation, with foster carers receiving ongoing training and support along with fostering allowances.