Irish Foster Care Association National Conference, Fostering Stability

Posted by adriancrilly on November 2, 2018

Irish Foster Care Association National Conference, Fostering Stability

Nov 02nd - All Day
Radisson Blu Hotel, Limerick - Radisson Blu Hotel, Limerick

IFCA National Conference 2018
Fostering Stability
Click here for more information on the conference and how to book your ticket

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!

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.

Conference venue

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.

Organising committee

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.

Volunteers Needed

We are seeking day volunteers for our children and young people’s programmes to be a part of our child-centred, activity and fun filled weekend! Weather you, or someone you may know is looking for valuable volunteer experience, is passionate about working directly with young people from various backgrounds, would like an opportunity to gain or improve their skills, work in and learn about fostering or just simply has the time to give while having loads of fun, we would love to hear from you!  Details can be here Volunteers Needed.pdf