Fostering Ireland

Fostering in Ireland means looking after somebody else’s child in your own home either long term or short term basis. Voluntary fostering occurs when a child is placed in a foster home because the parent or legal guardian has asked for help and fostering through a court order occurs when a judge decides it is better for the child to live with a foster family. Ideally, the child will only be in foster care temporarily and can return to his/her family as soon as viable, unless there is serious neglect and abuse involved.

The Role of the Social Worker

There are over 4,500 children in care in Ireland in 2016. Each child is allocated a social worker who is responsible for overseeing their wellbeing and development as well as ensuring the child’s best interests are kept in mind at all times. Similarly, each foster family is allocated their personal social worker who supports the family during the placement.

Social workers should always encourage relationship development between the foster family and the foster child as well as the foster child’s biological family. It is important not to mix up fostering and adoption, as a foster child always remains a part of his or her biological family.