CONGRATULATIONS to Western Trust Foster Carers Charlotte Allen and Geraldine Doherty who were winners of two awards at the annual Foster Carer of the Year Awards, held recently in Belfast.
As part of Foster Care Fortnight, The Fostering Network in partnership with HSC Regional Adoption and Fostering Service held the prestigious event to celebrate the central role foster carers play in providing stable, caring homes for vulnerable children and young people.
There were a record number of nominations this year, and 13 Foster Carer of Distinction awards were presented at the ceremony, from which the ‘Foster Carers of the Year’ and ‘Kinship Foster Carer of the Year’ were awarded.
Western Trust Foster Carers were the winners of two awards. Charlotte Allen received a ‘Foster Carer of Distinction’ award and Geraldine Doherty ‘Kinship Foster Carer of Distinction’.
Charlotte Allen was nominated by 14 members in the Western Trust area foster care support group which she has been the mainstay of for many years.
As the support group said in their nomination she is like the mother of the group.
Her gentle manner and patience as well as her great knowledge and experience are greatly valued by the support group and the 30 plus children she has fostered over the years.
Geraldine Doherty is a kinship foster carer. Geraldine ensures the children she fosters use their talents to reach their full potential in school and in life and is aspirational for them. She now fosters pre-adoption babies. This has been a really positive experience for the family. Geraldine told the Awards Panel that the children she fosters have a home with her for life and that she will always be there for them, no matter what.
Describing foster carers as going ‘above and beyond their duty’ to provide loving and stable environments for children and young people, Kieran Downey, Director of Women and Children’s Services at the Western Trust, said:
“The Foster Carer of the Year event aims to recognise the achievements of all of our foster carers.
“Foster carers are local heroes for us all and we owe them a tremendous gratitude for the job they do in often difficult circumstances.
“I would like to congratulate Charlotte and Geraldine on their well-deserved awards and thank them for their continued support to fostering in the Western Trust area.”
People may apply to foster whether they are married / co habiting or single, own or rent their own home, work or are receiving benefits, or if they have children of their own or not.
There is no upper age limit to who can foster as long as they are healthy and have the energy to care for a child or young person.
Applications will also be considered irrespective race, religion, language, culture, gender, disability, age and sexual orientation.
If you feel you have the time and space in your life to foster please contact the Fostering Recruitment & Assessment Team on 028 8283 5264.
Alternatively you can call HSC Regional Adoption and Fostering Service on 0800 0720 137 or enquire online.