Ireland’s child and family agency Tusla has begun a national campaign to recruit more foster carers to meet the growing demand for people to look after children.
This demand is driven by ongoing humanitarian crises internationally and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Ireland.
In Ireland 3,991 foster carers currently look after 5,248 children. That figure includes 2,219 new foster carers who joined Tusla last year, when 592 children entered foster care for the first time. This figure falls far short of the current need for children in need of foster care.
Tusla has begun a national Foster Care Recruitment Campaign to help meet the need for carers to look after these children.
According to Tusla, it currently works with a range of foster carers, including people who are over 40; people who are single, widowed, separated, married, divorced or cohabiting; people who are in a same-sex relationship; and people who have a disability.
All foster carers should relate well to and have respect for children and not have a Garda record for violence, offences against children or other serious offences.
Foster carers are entitled to an allowance to look after a child. For children aged up to 12 it is €325 a week and for children aged 12 and over, it is €352 a week. This is not taxable and has no impact where other State benefits are concerned.
Patricia Finlay, Tusla’s regional chief officer in Dublin Mid-Leinster and national lead for fostering, said: “Every year, hundreds of children and young people come into care, which means the need for new foster families continues to increase.
“This year more than ever, due to the current humanitarian crisis and the impact of Covid-19 on our communities, Tusla urgently requires more carers.”
Foster care can be short-term or long-term, with some emergency placements, respite fostering and other supports for young people who may need them. It means “there is a choice of ways to foster, so you’ll be able to find something that suits your skills, life stage and family dynamic best,” she said.
Tusla foster carers are expected to provide a safe, secure and stable home environment for the children and are a core part of ensuring children are cared for in a loving, home environment where just one adult can contribute to a child’s wellbeing and happiness.
Further details at fostering.ie, freephone 1800 226 771, email email@example.com or join one of two online information sessions on 21st and 22nd of September.