Moving Forward

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As part of the Moving Forward project, the Irish Foster Care Association has developed a national programme of workshops for foster carers who are members of IFCA. This series of three workshops will provide an overview of change, grief and loss. They will also validate and demystify experiences that many foster carers will have already encountered or indeed may encounter in the future. The content will focus on self-care, resilience and coping strategies for foster carers. The overall aim is to inform and support foster carers on the impact of change, grief and loss in the context of foster care. These workshops will take place in a supportive and confidential manner.

The focus of these workshops is to provide a space for foster carers to explore and reflect on the many changes in their lives as foster carers.  It is hoped that this time and space can be used to look at your own individual experience.  All of IFCA’s work and your own roles as foster carers, ultimately holds at its centre the wellbeing of children.  We hope that this experience will allow you the time and consideration of where you have found yourself in the context of past, present and potential future changes and experiences of loss.

This is a series of three workshops, so when you book, you will be booking for the three as a package in your chosen location. Workshops 1 and 2 are spaced two weeks apart. Workshop 3 follows a couple of months later.  There is a €30 charge for the three workshops as a package, which is fully refundable after attendance at all three workshops.

If you are interested in attending, please click on the links below. Please be aware that the closing date for booking is two weeks prior to the commencement of workshop 1 in each location.  If you are a foster carer who is not a member of IFCA you can join for free for the first year by calling the office on 01 459 9474 or on the website here.

Location                   Workshop 1                  Workshop 2                  Workshop 3

Cork                   1st May                        15th May                      11th September

https://movingforwardcork.eventbrite.ie

Tullamore                    2nd May                       16th May                      12th September

https://movingforwardtullamore.eventbrite.ie

Enniscorthy                 9th May                        22nd May                     18th September

https://movingforwardenniscorthy.eventbrite.ie

Limerick                     12th June                      26th June                      25th September

https://movingforwardlimerick.eventbrite.ie

Tuam                           13th June                      27th June                      26th September

https://movingforwardtuam.eventbrite.ie

Tallaght                       19th June                      4th July                         19th September

https://movingforwardtallaght.eventbrite.ie

All workshops 10am – 1pm

The workshops will be facilitated by IFCA’s Therapeutic Support Coordinator, Janet Gorman. Janet has over 30 years’ experience of facilitating workshops. She has delivered courses on self-care and stress management, parenting, communications and personal development. She has a Master in the field of psychotherapy and is trained to work therapeutically with adults and children. The vast majority of Janet’s clients are impacted by the effects of loss on their lives. Through her role with IFCA she has developed a keen appreciation of the foster care environment and worked previously on the pre-approval training materials for foster carers. She is looking forward to developing a range of supports for foster families in Ireland under the Moving Forward initiative.

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The “Moving Forward” Project was made possible through funding from Pobal and the Dormant Accounts Fund. It is a time-limited pilot programme which will be subject to evaluation at the end of 2018.  Whilst we have endeavoured to ensure an even distribution of service throughout the country, future offerings at additional locations will be dependent on appropriate funding.  If you have any queries relating to the programme please email the Head of Support at peter.otoole@ifca.ie or call 01 4599474.

This project was approved by Government with support from the Dormant Accounts Fund Dormant Accounts Fund Logo.jpg

Questions & Answers

What is the Dormant Account Fund?

The Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF) is a scheme for the disbursement of unclaimed funds from accounts in credit institutions in Ireland. The fund is administered under the 2001 Dormant Accounts Act, together with the Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act 2003 and the Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Act 2012 and is under the statutory function of the Minister for Rural and Community Development from July 2017.

How many spaces are there on each course? There is a maximum of 18 spaces for each location.  The places are expected to fill quickly so prompt booking is advised.

Who can attend?

The workshops are open to Foster Carers who are IFCA members only.  The course content is suitable for adults only.  The workshops will focus on the experiences of foster carers specifically and as such, are not focusing on the experience of children of foster carers.  It is hoped that additional support service offerings for these groups may be offered in the future.

Can couples attend?

The workshops are designed to look at experiences on an individual level.  Although couples are welcome to attend, it should be noted that the reflective nature of the work and experiential aspects may not be suitable for couples who are exploring these issues collectively for the first time.  If you have any queries relating to whether these workshops are suitable for you, please contact Janet Gorman on 01 4599474 or janet.gorman@ifca.ie  Janet will be happy to discuss any concerns with you.

What if you can only make 1 and 2 of the workshops but not the final one?

The content of these workshops is designed to specifically focus on different aspects relating to loss and change over a three-session model.  It is intended that anyone who signs up for all three is committing to attending every session.  Should anyone need to cancel under special circumstances, this can be discussed with the workshop facilitator on 01 4599474 or janet.gorman@ifca.ie

Do I need to tell my Social Worker that I am attending?

Attendance is by self-referral, although Tusla will be aware of the programme and may well recommend it to foster carers with whom they deal with.  However, there is no reason for you to share your attendance at these workshops with any third party.

Are the workshops considered as “Group Therapy”?

The workshops can be termed as “Therapeutic Support” but are not considered as group counselling or Psychotherapy and are not intended to be a substitute for such a service.  The accessing of such suitable supports will be discussed as part of the workshops themselves.

What are the limits of confidentiality within the workshops.

This will be addressed at the commencement of each individual session.  The content of the workshop and the discussions that take place within them will be entirely confidential.  All participants are expected to be mindful of confidentiality with regards to the children they care for and of the stories from other participants that they will listen to.  Confidentiality may be waived in the event that the facilitator becomes aware that there is any indication of risk to either a participant or to any other third party.  Throughout the process, participants will be required to fill out anonymous self-report measures.  The data derived from this will be used to inform the progress of the workshops themselves, as well as serve as a means of recording positive outcomes which may be used in sourcing future funding or development of the programme.

Why is it only available to members?

The project is designed to meet a need which IFCA has become aware of through our support work with all those who use the service.  However, we have been aware that many of our members who are foster carers have expressed a desire to participate in activities that are open to foster carers only.  These workshops are delivered solely for our members in order to meet that particular need.

Do you expect to get further funding for more workshops?

One of the main objectives of this project is to look for means of sustainability over a prolonged period.  To this end, IFCA will endeavour to source suitable avenues for future funding.  This cannot be guaranteed and IFCA will share future news on this matter as it becomes available.