Irish Foster Care Association
The Irish Foster Care Association (IFCA) is the representative body for foster care in Ireland. Child centred and rights-based, IFCA promotes excellence in foster care. We aim to accomplish this by providing information, support and learning opportunities for all those involved in foster care through our direct work in Advocacy, Branch Development, Support, and Learning and Development.
IFCA seeks to build a culture of learning that values the accumulation of knowledge, skills and experience by all those with an involvement in fostering, in the development of best practice. The annual conference is one of a range of opportunities in IFCA’s learning programme which also includes training, seminars, and a biannual journal on foster care practice, policy and research, ‘Foster’.
IFCA Conference 2018
The Irish Foster Care Association National Conference brings together all those with an interest in foster care, including general and relative foster families, health and social care practitioners, academics, students, teachers, policy makers, and members of the community and voluntary sector to learn together, engage in dialogue, and share their experiences and best practice. We run three parallel programmes for children, young people and adults.
This year’s conference theme is Fostering Stability. It is well-recognised that a secure and stable environment is key to children’s healthy development and well-being. Due to the circumstances which lead to children being received into care and the many changes to their world that may be part of this, it is critical that we do all we can to support the most vulnerable children in our society to feel safety, security and stability.
The conference will offer scope to explore how the system can better support stability for children in foster care and look at many aspects of practice and policy of relevance to this theme. Stability may relate to our everyday foster care practice – how can our practice facilitate healthy child development and well-being? Stability may also relate to the practical and legal arrangements that are in place for a child. For example, how can every element of a child’s care-planning and its follow-through contribute to a child’s sense of stability and well-being? For the foster family, what are the factors which can contribute to parental autonomy within the foster-care parenting role? Closely related to the concept of stability in foster care is that of permanence. The meanings of permanence in terms of stability, emotional security and family membership into adulthood are complex1. One definition of permanence is: ‘a set of goaldirected activities designed to help children live in families that offer continuity of relationships with nurturing parents or caretakers and the opportunity to establish lifetime relationships’2. Another definition is: ‘the security and well-being that comes from being accepted as members of ‘new’ families’3. While some children who come into care return to live with their birth parents, for those who can’t, permanence within the foster family can be an alternative. In the Republic of Ireland, a number of different legal options are available or may be proposed within the current review of the Child Care Act 1991, and views vary on which of these options is best able to achieve permanence in both practical and emotional terms. Other areas central to the concept of stability in foster care include: the provision of supports to foster carers; and more broadly, how can the stability of foster care itself be sustained in Ireland? We hope that the conference will stimulate further debate, discussion and learning on these many aspects of fostering stability.
Note re changes to the conference programme We have planned the conference programmes based on what participants from last year’s conference said they would like and, also, on feedback from other relevant consultations. We have designed a less busy agenda for all three programmes and created more space for dialogue and unstructured time. Former participants have spoken of a need to speak freely of their experiences of being involved in foster care, in a space that is safe and confidential. We’re delighted to let you know that there will be such an offering this year, a workshop called, ‘Listening to our inner voice’ facilitated by Dr Barbara Reid, an independent, UK-based facilitator of the Circle of Trust model. There will be a separate workshop each for foster carers and for those involved in foster care who aren’t foster carers. We have also made changes to the social programme with an emphasis on a family-friendly evening schedule on Saturday night. We hope this will work better. Do let us know what you think and we will keep trying to meet your needs!
1 Schofield, G., Beck, M. and Ward, E. (2012) Part of the family: ‘Planning for permanence in long-term family foster care in long-term family foster care’ Children and Youth Services Review, 34(1) January.
2 Maluccio and Fein, 1983: 5, cited in Stott and Gustavsson, 2010: 622, cited in Moran, L., McGregor, C. and Devaney, C. (2017) Outcomes for Permanence and Stability for Children in Long-term Care. Galway. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, The National University of Ireland, Galway.
3 UK Performance and Innovation Unit (2000) in O’Brien, V. and Palmer, A. (2016) ‘Permanence in long-term foster care: what are the options?’ Foster, Issue 2, pp27-45.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Ennis Road, Limerick.
Tel: +353 (0)61 456 2000
Please remember to quote your Eventbrite conference ticket order number when booking your accommodation.
The conference is organised by the IFCA staff team in conjunction with volunteers and EPIC (Empowering People in Care).
If you have any queries, please contact the IFCA office. Tel: +353 (0)1 459 9474.
Address: Unit 23, Village Green, Tallaght, Dublin 24.
Acknowledgement IFCA wishes to express its thanks to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for its financial assistance to support the Children’s and Young People’s conference programmes. Our thanks also to all the businesses, organisations and individuals, too many to mention, which kindly donated spot prizes.
Key booking information - please read in advance of booking!
We kindly ask that you read the following before you book to ensure that you are aware of the conference format and understand the booking system.
How to book your conference ticket
You can book your conference ticket and accommodation by following the two steps below:
Step 1: Book your conference place online with Eventbrite
You can book your place by clicking above. From here, you will be redirected to Eventbrite to complete your booking. Once you have completed your booking and payment, Eventbrite will email you your conference ticket with an order number that you will need to quote when booking your accommodation with the hotel. (See Step 2.)
As your booking is being processed by an external system, the full conference payment is required. Please phone the IFCA Ofﬁce on 01 459 9474 if you wish to discuss an alternative way of paying. Early Bird rates are available until Wednesday, 27th September. The Early Bird rates apply to adults only. Closing date for booking: Friday, 13th October.
What if I don’t have access to the internet?
If you don’t have access to the internet, you can ask IFCA to send you a conference brochure and booking form by phoning IFCA on 01 459 9474. Please send completed your completed form to the IFCA Office by Wednesday 3 October to avail of the Early Bird rates.
Step 2: Book your accommodation directly with the Radisson Blu Hotel quoting your Eventbrite conference ticket order number
Once you receive your conference ticket, please phone the Radisson Blu Hotel on 061 456 200 to book your accommodation directly with the hotel.
Please reference the IFCA Conference and quote the Eventbrite conference ticket order number when booking your accommodation. You will already have made the full payment in Step 1 or will have been issued with an invoice for the full payment.
100 per cent refund up to 3 October, 50 per cent refund up to 19 October − no refund possible after 19 October. All cancellations must be submitted in writing to IFCA.
Conference booking checklist
Before sending/submitting your completed conference booking form, please check that you have...
1. Selected your conference package
2. Given Payment Details
3. Let us know your workshop choices for all adults attending – first and second preferences
4. Provided all contact information
5. Provided names of all children and their ages
6. Told us of any participation and/or dietary needs for each adult and child
7. Phoned the hotel to book your own accommodation quoting your conference ticket order number.