Minister Encouraged By Fostering Success
Northern Ireland Health Minister Paul Goggins, has learned of the benefits achieved from the Fostering Achievement Scheme he launched last year. Young people and carers, who have benefited from the scheme, met with the Minister to tell him of how their lives have improved.
The Minister was speaking at the Fostering Achievement Celebratory lunch. The Scheme assists carers funding to access:
- equipment such as computers or musical instruments
- a range of educational and personal development activities
- advice and training to enable carers to be effective first educators of the children in their care
Mr Goggins said: “Last September I stated that I was determined to do what I can to improve the lives of young people in foster care. I am deeply encouraged and enthused by the stories I have heard from young people today, on how Fostering Achievement has enriched their lives. There are around 1500 young people in foster care throughout Northern Ireland. It is heartening to hear that the scheme has assisted 665 children in foster care, since its launch in September.”
The Minister continued by paying tribute to carers, he said: “I wish to pay tribute to all foster carers, for the invaluable service you provide to some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our society. I recognise the time, patience, tolerance and energy involved in sharing your home. Today has demonstrated that this scheme increases self-esteem and better economic opportunities for young people in care.”
‘Fostering Achievement’ is part of a £100m plus Children and Young People funding package announced in March 2006 by the Secretary of State. It will see £1.04 million provided to a consortium of voluntary organisations to deliver this funding directly to carers and young people who need it most. This investment comes on top of the £4m-£6m investment in statutory foster care in 2006-08 aimed at recruiting more foster carers.
There are currently around 2,500 children and young people in care in Northern Ireland, of whom around 1,500 are living with foster families.