Pandemic could cause ‘crisis’ in foster care
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Coronavirus: Pandemic could cause ‘crisis’ in foster care

The number of children who need foster care has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, a leading charity has said.

Barnardo's NI said it has seen an increase of almost 40% in the numbers who require such care since lockdown, compared to the same period last year.

It also said the number of people making enquiries to become foster carers dropped by a quarter during the same period.

Helen Brown from Barnardo’s NI said the backlog could lead to a "crisis" in foster care.

She said: "The pandemic has put extra pressure on vulnerable families, there have been job losses, poor mental health and that can lead to a breakdown in homes which could explain the increase in children needing foster care.

“On top of that, we believe families who previously might have considered being foster carers are not currently because of the uncertainty about the future as a result of Covid-19."

Barry and Cathy Mohan became foster parents to a toddler in January this year.

According to Cathy, it’s been life changing.

"It’s like that wee one has been with us the whole time. That child isn’t a foster child in our house, that child is part of our family."

Barnardo’s is one of a number of agencies which place children with foster carers. There are about 2,500 children in Northern Ireland who are in foster care.

Video journalist: Niall McCracken

  • 30 Jun 2020