BALLYMENA Councillor Beth Adger can speak with some authority on the topic of fostering.
Having fostered nearly 50 youngsters over two decades, she was the ideal person to voice Mid and East Antrim Council’s support for Foster Care Fortnight.
Foster Care Fortnight runs from 10 – 23 May and aims to help and encourage the wider society to understand and value fostering and the positive difference it can make to young people’s lives.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor, Peter Johnston said: “Thousands of new foster families are needed every year to care for children, with the greatest need being for older children, sibling groups and children with additional needs.
“Currently, around 2,780 children and young people are living in foster care and with less people coming forward to offer homes, there has never been a greater need for foster carers.
“You really could make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children and young people.”
Councillor Adger MBE shared her personal story at last week’s meeting of full council, putting forward a Notice of Motion on the issue which was unanimously supported by Elected Members.
She said afterwards: “Foster carers in Northern Ireland do an incredible job ensuring children are nurtured, loved and protected.
“As a foster carer myself for over 22 years and having fostered 47 children during this time, I can hand on my heart say it is the most rewarding job.
“From newborn to 14 years of age, the children that entered our home gave us so much love and it really was a pleasure to provide each child with a loving and safe environment during their time of need.
“We hope that the increased awareness of Foster Care Fortnight will build support for fostering, challenge stigma surrounding children in foster care and encourage more people to come forward to foster. There is a good support network out there for foster carers to avail of, so you are not alone in this role.”
For more information on Adoption or Foster Care please contact HSC Northern Ireland Adoption and Foster Care on T: 0800 0720 137 or visit W: www.adoptionandfostercare.hscn.net