Keady couple named as Northern Ireland Foster Carers of the Year
A Keady couple who have fostered 25 children over the past decade have been named as Foster Carers of the Year by leading charity the Fostering Network, at a charity ball attended by over 250 people at Queen’s University, Belfast on Friday 8 May 2009.
John and Mary McGrane were nominated by their social worker Valerie Quinn of the Southern Trust. They were presented with a cheque for £1,000 in recognition of their commitment to foster caring thanks to the generous support of this year’s event sponsors, MediCare Pharmacy Group.
The McGranes have been foster carers for 10 years, and have provided care for 25 children and young people in that time. They currently have a teenager living with them on a long-term basis, and also provide emergency care. As well as being a foster carer John has his own metal work and engineering business.
Valerie Quinn said: "I’m really delighted that John and Mary’s invaluable work as foster carers has been recognised with this award. They have developed their role as foster carers over the past 10 years, and have used their strengths and skills to work with young people with a range of complex needs."
John McGrane said: "We couldn’t believe it when we heard we had won, we were just so surprised. To be named Foster Carers of the Year is such an honour, we really are delighted. Fostering means so much to us, it really is such a rewarding job."
Michael Guerin, Managing Director for MediCare Pharmacy Group, said "John and Mary impressed me by their calm disposition which has helped them cope with children from all sorts of diverse backgrounds. They and the other foster carers I met, have made a huge difference to the lives of the children they have cared for through the years."
The ball marks the beginning of the Fostering Network’s national awareness campaign, Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from 11 to 24 May. With a theme of fostering: a career that changes lives, the campaign aims to highlight the need for more foster carers and asks people to look at whether they have the skills and qualities needed for a career in fostering.
Kate Lewis, director of the Fostering Network Northern Ireland, said: "The ball is a celebration of the dedication and commitment foster carers show to some of Northern Ireland’s most vulnerable children.
"It’s also the start of our Foster Care Fortnight awareness campaign, with this year’s theme of fostering: a career that changes lives. John and Mary McGrane are fine examples of the ways in which a career in fostering can change the lives of fostered children and the families who look after them. I hope their experiences will encourage others to come forward to find out more this Foster Care Fortnight."
To find out more about fostering and becoming a foster carer visit www.couldyoufoster.org.uk
Foster Care Fortnight takes place from 11 to 24 May 2009.
Read the press release.