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Campaign puts spotlight on fostering

Fostering Awareness stall 16 -10-18 (Photo John Bugeja)

The fourth annual fostering campaign was launched earlier this week in a bid to drum up local interest.

The campaign that was launched by the Minister for Health, Neil Costa, coincides with the UK National Adoption Week.

There are currently seven foster families in Gibraltar and through this campaign the Care Agency aims to find suitable alternative homes for children in care.

Mr Costa commended the work of the Care Agency and foster carers for nurturing children who find themselves in care.

“Within this fostering unit the children will be with a family who will love them, care for them, nurture and guide them,” Mr Costa said.

“No one is an island. We all need other people. None of us would be here today if it was not for the support, care and love we have received.”

Head of Children Services Nicole Viagas stressed the importance of children having the best start in life and that children should be cared in a safe, family environment where they have positive childhood experiences.

“Children need the best possible start in life, and if this cannot be offered by the parents or family members, then alternative placements are crucial,” Ms Viagas said.

“I want to thank our wonderful foster carers and social work team for making this a reality for our children. Our carers understand that children need a safe base from where they can feel special belonging to a family and positive childhood experiences translates into well-adjusted and successful adults.”

To highlight the positive aspects of fostering a person who was in foster care attended the launch and shared how their foster parents had changed their life.

The person, who wished to remain anonymous, detailed how they never understood why their classmates would be happy to return home after school.

After finding a foster home and having a happy, balanced personal life they found themselves becoming one of those children who was happy to go back home after school.

From the opposite side of the spectrum, a foster parent shared their journey to fostering and how it had changed their family’s life for the better. The family now plan to adopting their foster child.

In order to foster a child a person must be over 21 years old, reside locally and they must undertake a five-day training course. The person can be single, married, and of any sexual orientation.

As part of the fostering campaign a workshop will be held at 6pm today at John Mackintosh Hall. A van manned by the Care Agency will be available throughout Thursday at various sites in Gibraltar including at Casemates Square at 10am. On Friday there will be a drop-in service at the Family and Community Centre in Mid Harbours Estate.

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