COVID-19: Help at-risk children in Northern Ireland

Vulnerable children in Northern Ireland are being put at even greater risk by COVID-19.

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Home for Good has been made aware by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s fostering team that they are being put under increasing pressure by COVID-19.

Over the last year, Home for Good has been working in partnership with the Southern Trust to find foster carers for some of the most vulnerable children in our community. Before the start of the COVID-19 crisis, In Northern Ireland 70 children came into care every month, which equated to needing a further 250 foster carers to meet the need here in Northern Ireland.

In the Southern Trust alone, there is now a need to see and increase to approximately 45 foster carers per annum to meet the current demand.

COVID-19 has only added further pressure when it comes to finding homes for vulnerable children. There is significant need now. But there will also be even more need in a few months.

In early June 2020, in a Coronavirus press conference with the Minister for Health, the Chief Social Work Officer of Social Services Sean Holland shared how the pandemic has impacted children in Northern Ireland. Initially when we entered into lockdown there was a significant downturn in referrals, probably reflecting the fact that children weren't coming into contact with the people who would refer them, such as schools. At the same time, the use of services such as Childline rose. Referrals are now starting to climb, and there have been increases both in the number of registrations on the child protection register and in the number of children coming into care.

Trusts are preparing for a significant rise in referrals as lockdown ends and all children return to school. This will put huge pressure on children’s services and more foster homes will be needed.

Now, more than ever, Children in Northern Ireland will need safe and loving families to care for them. For those children the real emergency of 2020 will be then, not now.

We are asking people in Northern Ireland who may be able to open their home to a vulnerable child to respond now and complete the form below.

On completion, Home for Good will be in touch to help explore your interest further.

Find out more

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A story to inspire you

As part of Home for Good's Father's Day 2020 campaign, Madlug Founder and adopter, Dave Linton (based in Northern Ireland), shares his heart and passion for children in care and encourages us all to consider the part we can play in caring for vulnerable children.

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Could you open up your home to a vulnerable child?

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