The Irish Foster Care Association is the representative body for foster care in Ireland. Child-centred and rights-based, IFCA promotes excellence in foster care for all those involved.
Supporting excellence in foster care so that children in care have the best chance in life.
- The paramount importance of the protection and welfare of children
- Open, respectful, transparent ways of working
- The role of foster carers in the lives of children
- A partnership approach between all those involved in foster care
- Equality and inclusion
- Family based care for children who for various reasons cannot live with their own families
- The work of volunteers at all levels within the Association
The Irish Foster Care Association is a Company Limited by Guarantee with a Charity Number.
IFCA provides a range of services to its members, including:
IFCA Information and Guidance:
IFCA is a valuable source of information for all involved in foster care. Through the IFCA Ezine members are kept up to date on the work of the Association and developments in foster care.
The IFCA Journal, circulated twice yearly, is a valuable source of information on current issues in foster care and of developments in policy, practice and research.
IFCA has developed leaflets and booklets on topics relevant to foster care and also sources books of interest to people involved in foster care.
IFCA volunteer support workers provide a professional and high quality support service. The service is confidential, responsive, and personal. All IFCA support volunteers have completed a Certificate in Counselling & Psychotherapeutic Skills & Practice course.
The Telephone Helpline operates from the IFCA office in Tallaght and can provide practical information and advice regarding any aspect of fostering as well as a supportive listening ear. All calls are held in strict confidence but confidentiality may need to be waived in the event of a risk of harm to yourself or another individual.
For matters of a more complex nature, more prolonged or detailed assistance may be required. When appropriate, our helpline volunteers will consult with the Head of Support Service to determine if further support can be offered by means of a referral to a specific volunteer.
As you build your experience in fostering, you can continue to develop your awareness and skills by taking part in a range of learning activities available through your IFCA branch and the national office.
IFCA organises its national conference in conjunction with an IFCA branch each year. This is considered a key learning and social event for members and those with an involvement in foster care to learn together, engage in dialogue, share their experiences and best practice.
Some IFCA branches and regions organise seminars on current issues which can include research and best practice.
IFCA has a number of affiliated voluntary branches around the country that meet on a regular basis and organise activities such as social events, support groups and meetings, and training and learning opportunities. Becoming an active member of your local IFCA branch can provide you with an important opportunity to:
- Meet local foster carers and people with an interest in foster care in your area
- Discuss issues relating to foster care and receive advice on where to seek further assistance in relation to these issues
- Access high quality peer support which can range from formal support groups or buddy systems to informal coffee mornings etc. Research shows that peer contact fulfils a number of important support needs and can serve to counter the sense of isolation that foster carers can experience
- Have your voice heard and advocated for at local, regional, and national level within IFCA and, through IFCA, with the relevant decision makers in foster care
- Receive information on current developments in fostering and IFCA’s role in advocating and campaigning for change
- Receive information on IFCA’s services, upcoming local/national seminars and training, learning and social events