A local foster mother has spoken of how rewarding the experience is and has encouraged others to consider opening their homes to children.
Heather, who is in her 50s lives in the Western Trust area, decided to become a short-term foster carer after being widowed and said she has found the experience extremely rewarding.
Two local information evenings this week - one tonight in the Fir Trees Hotel , Strabane and another at Da Vincis Hotel, Derry on Thursday. Both events start at 7.30pm and are open to all.
“It was something I thought about for many years,” Heather said. “After the death of my husband, my children had all grown up, I had a wee bit of empty nest syndrome. I had gone to an Information Evening and came away with the feeling that I could be a foster carer.”
Assessment began in April 2010 and Heather was approved by October.
“The social worker was so easy to talk to and made me feel at ease and there’s lots of support,” she said.
Heather said she was nervous about hosting a child at first, but then “this wee face arrives on your doorstep.
“It’s scary for both parties at the start but they become part of the family, everything just falls into place. You have to build up friendship and trust.”
Heather said that when children move on to long-term placement, she said it is heartening and reassuring to know the children will continue to get the love and nurturing they deserve.