The Health Minister has announced further funding of £754,800 for foster carers bringing the total support provided to them to £1.39million since the start of pandemic.
Foster carers provide care for children looked after by social services teams when they are unable to live with their parent/s. There are currently around 2,600 children and young people in foster or kinship care in Northern Ireland.
Announcing the funding Health Minister Robin Swann said: “Foster Carers do incredible work providing 24/7 care for children and young people. The pandemic has meant that foster carers have faced many challenges, including coping with the increased levels of anxiety and pressure, keeping children occupied, managing home schooling and, in some cases, supporting children and young people with their behaviour.”
Minister Swann continued: “Unfortunately many have experienced financial pressures while at the same time worrying about the negative impact the pandemic has had on the emotional wellbeing of the children and young people in their care. In spite of these challenges, the majority of foster carers have continued to provide settled and stable home environments for children and young people. I hope this additional support announced today will help convey my sincere thanks to foster carers for the self-less role they play.”
This funding follows support provided to carers in June 2020. It equates to an extra 20% of the weekly food and household elements of the allowance foster carers received for children in their care for a limited period.
Welcoming today’s announcement Kathleen Toner, Director at the Fostering Network said: “We are delighted the Minister has agreed to provide this additional uplift in allowances to foster and kinship foster carers. This support, which addresses the additional financial pressures experienced by fostering families as a result of the pandemic, is greatly welcomed, as is the Minister’s recognition of the vital role foster carers have in our communities, providing safety, stability and emotional continuity for vulnerable children at this very challenging time.”