Celebrations as the team from the South Eastern Health Trust wins National Fostering Network Award
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This recognition underscores the team’s outstanding commitment to fostering excellence in the South Eastern Trust.
The team were instrumental in developing the Step Up Step Down project in partnership with The Fostering Network that involves Family Support Foster Carers working closely with families as and when they need them, in order to keep families together and prevent children entering the care system.
Parents who have used the service insists it really works because Foster Carers step up and step down but they never step away.
Since it was introduced seven years ago, it has significantly reduced the number of children taken into care, making a real difference to the lives of children and families in the South Eastern Trust area.
This child-centred, trauma-informed service has helped more than 180 children on the edge of care, to stay together with their birth families.
“It literally was a lifeline. It let me be a mother again to my two daughters.” said Noeleen Thomas, who four years ago was able to avail of Step Up Step Down when she was struggling.
“Step Up Step Down was a lifeline, it pulled me out of a dark place, my family was falling apart and I thought I was failing as a parent.
"The service helped support me and made me aware I was not failing as a parent, I was struggling. They put tools in place for me and showed me how to work with the children.
“The future is so exciting, I no longer dread every day, Step Up Step Down has given us our lives back, we are very grateful for that.”
Head of Fostering, Adoption and Permanence in the South Eastern Trust, Nuala Hanna was delighted for the team to receive this prestigious award and said, “This is a really well deserved award. The Step Up Step Down Team are amazing and their dedication and commitment to the families that they work with is outstanding.”
Chief Executive of The Fostering Network, Sarah Thomas said: “It’s been such a joy to read everyone’s stories and hear about exceptional people who go above and beyond to support others."