Foster Carers Recognised at Northern Ireland Foster Care Awards 202220th June 2022
Foster Carers from across Northern Ireland recently came together at The Fostering Network’s Northern Ireland Foster Care Awards, co-hosted by HSC NI Foster Care. A number of foster carers and kinship foster carers received special recognition for their outstanding contribution to fostering at the event.
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.
Excellence in Foster Care winners, Fiona and Karen Young, were nominated by their supervising social worker, Finvola Kelly from the South Eastern HSC Trust Fostering Team. Finvola is delighted that the Young’s have been recognised for their wonderful work and said, “If you were to give gold stars for parents and foster carers then the Young’s would get the biggest and brightest one.”
Karen and Fiona foster two children and have adopted one child. Fiona described how they help their children understand their family dynamic, “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.”
Foster Carer Marian Corr received a Lifetime Recognition Award on the night, acknowledging the 30 years of family-focused care that Marion and her late husband Hugh have shared with over 30 children. Marion was nominated by her social worker David Campbell who said, “Marian and Hugh always created a family-focused ethos within the home, this was something they always felt very strongly about. This started with their own three children, and extended to include every other child they cared for.
“Marian no difference in the children she looked after over the years. Every child she has ever cared for has been regarded as her own son or daughter; they are all part of her now very large, extended family circle. Many of the children Marian fostered continued to live in the family home well into adulthood and she keeps in regular contact with everyone, particularly enjoying visits from her foster grandchildren. Her home is and always will be the heart of the family.
“Losing her life partner not too long ago was incredibly difficult, as you will appreciate, but Marian continued to be the beating heart of the home, remaining buoyant and strong throughout.”
Marian’s daughters, Sammy Jo, who now works for South Eastern HSC Trust, and her sister Kirsty, who attended the ceremony with her, along with daughters Maria and Roisin, paid tribute to Marian by saying, “It’s very hard to put into words how I would describe living and growing up with Marian, all I can say is that it was normal. Marian made all of us, feel at home and included in her family. We never felt like ‘foster children’. Marian has shaped me into the woman I am today and for that I will always be grateful, it is a privilege to call her mum.”
Sammy Jo continued by saying, “Growing up with Marian and Hugh never felt any different to me. I had two families, we were part of the furniture, part of the family. Without her I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”
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.
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.
Foster carers receive ongoing training and support along with fostering allowances.
For more information Call HSC NI Foster Care on 0800 0720 137 or visit adoptionandfostercare.hscni.net