Louise Reilly

South Eastern Trust foster carer

“Do your homework, know what you’re getting yourself into and if you’re in a position to provide children a home, go for it!”  Louise Reilly

Louise Reilly is twenty three years old and is a Kinship Foster Carer for her four younger siblings.  Initially only one of her younger sisters was living with her and Louise welcomed the input from Social Services in supporting her as a carer.  From 2011, another sister moved to live with her and by the end of 2012 her two younger brothers were also placed in her care.

Although taking on the care of four children between the ages of eleven and seventeen years was a significant undertaking, Louise felt that as their older sister she was the best person to do this.  The thought of having her siblings separated and possibly having to live some distance away from them was what motivated Louise to pursue the kinship fostering route.  Throughout the assessment process and the ongoing placement, Louise feels that the practical, emotional and financial support she has received from the Fostering Team and the children’s Social Workers has enabled her to provide a secure and loving home for her siblings. Louise feels that despite the challenges running a house full of teenagers’ presents, seeing her family happy and all living together makes it all worthwhile.

When considering what skills or qualities a carer needs, Louise feels that having an abundance of patience and understanding is vital.  The ability to listen without passing judgment and to put yourself in someone else’s position is also crucial to successfully caring for teenagers.  Her advice for anyone considering fostering would be “do your homework, know what you’re getting yourself into and if you’re in a position to provide children a home, go for it!”

The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust provide foster carers with social work support and training.  A Regional Emergency Social Work Service is available outside of office hours.  Monthly allowances are paid to foster carers to cover the cost of caring for a child/children.

The South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust are currently recruiting foster carers for short term, long term and respite care of children age 0 to 18 years.  We are also looking to recruit foster carers for sibling groups and children with disabilities.  If you would like to hear more about Fostering please contact Gillian Chesney, Fostering Recruitment and Assessment Team, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust on (028) 91270672 or email on Gillian.chesney@setrust.hscni.net.  You can also enquire online.