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HSCNI Foster Care celebrates long-standing foster carers across Belfast

4th May 2023

It was a day for celebration as HSCNI Foster Care recognised the dedication of long-serving foster carers from the Belfast area in a special event at the Balmoral Hotel on Wednesday 26 April.

Over 80 carers from across Belfast, many of whom have fostered for more than twenty years, were invited to the exclusive lunch where they received certificates in recognition of their contribution towards transforming the lives of children and young people.

Speaking at the event Lorraine Toner, Principal Social Worker, paid tribute to the foster carers thanking them for their dedication and support for the children. She said:

“We are delighted to be able to show our appreciation and thank our long-standing foster carers who have given over 20 years’ service in supporting some of the most vulnerable children in our communities.

“It’s great they can take time out of their busy lives today and be recognised for a role where they have shown love, care and commitment to so many children and young people.

“These carers and their families have opened their homes and their lives to fostering. We are indebted to them for their resilience, flexibility and staying power over the years.”

Attending the event was foster carer Margaret Leckey. Margaret had been fostering for over 20 years before retiring in December 2022 and she was grateful to see long-standing carers being recognised by Belfast Trust. She said:

“I think it’s absolutely lovely to be recognised for what I have done, and all the rest of these ladies and gentleman have done the same. Put their life on hold to look after other people’s children, children who are not able to be with their family.

“it’s just nice to have been able to have done something for someone who really needed it.”

Margaret who fostered over 100 children with her husband John also spoke about how rewarding her family found fostering. She continued:

“It’s a very rewarding thing to do. I’m really pleased that John and I did it. We came in a bit late, my only thing was that we didn’t start soon enough. We should have fostered when we were younger.

“It was the best thing I’ve ever done, I don’t regret one bit of it, I enjoyed it. We’re now retired and we miss it sorely.

Across Belfast and Northern Ireland, there are many children who need a loving home. This can be short-term, an emergency placement, a longer-term arrangement, or supported lodgings for those aged 16-21 transitioning towards independent living.

HSCNI Foster Care welcomes enquiries and applications from all backgrounds, regardless of marital or employment status, whether you own your home or rent, or are already a parent. Applications are considered from any race, religion, language, culture, gender, disability, age or sexual orientation.

For further information about fostering, visit, call 0800 0720 137 or email