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Calls for kinship care awareness campaign

The Fostering Network is calling on the Government to launch a public awareness campaign in Northern Ireland to ensure kinship carers get the essential advice and support they need.

At a point of crisis when a child can no longer live with its birth parents, their families do not always have access to important information about the range of options available. This means they and the child could miss out on vital help and support they are entitled to receive.

Getting access to the right support is essential as many of these children will have emotional and behavioural difficulties, special educational needs or a physical disability. And the family members who may look after them are more likely to be older or living in poverty.

Often the best option that could be available is formal kinship care, where the child could qualify for services that all children in care receive. The relative looking after the child could also access the finances, practical support and training on offer to foster carers.

Around 30% of the 2,500 children and young people in care in Northern Ireland now live with family relatives in a formal kinship care arrangement, a 53% increase since 2009.

The Fostering Network’s recruitment targets also show that 100 new foster carers are needed in Northern Ireland during 2012.


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