Fostering in Northern Ireland
As a devolved nation within the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland’s government is mainly undertaken by the Northern Ireland Assembly and its committees.
This includes foster care provision. Fostering continues to be a priority for government and recent developments over the last three years include:
- an increase for foster care allowances.
- a 24 hour, seven days a week support service for foster carers.
- the G.E.M. Scheme which allows young people to remain with their foster carers after their 18th birthday.
- an increase the number of foster carers in Northern Ireland to 1800* in 2008 from 1178 in 2002.
In November 2007 the Regional Fostering Recruitment and Training Coordination Service was set up to support the local Trusts in the recruitment, assessment and training of foster carers. A TV advertising campaign and other measures have led to a significant increase in the number of foster carers recruited over the last year.
The Fostering Network welcomes this increase and estimates that we need to build on this success by recruiting at least a further 100 long-term foster carers. This will enable Trusts to offer more placement choice for children and young people, particularly adolescents, as well as addressing the impact of an ageing foster carer population who either have settled long term placements or are retiring from fostering.
There are approximately 1,680 children and young people living with foster families on any given day in Northern Ireland.
* This figure includes approximately 450 kinship carers.