Patricia Gray has fostered more than 60 children in Northern Ireland over the last 14 years.

Her family live just outside Draperstown in County Londonderry.

She said: “We have four children of our own, when they went to school I wanted to be able to help other children.

“Every child that has come through our door, we’ve embraced them as our own.”

Figures show that there has been an increase of children in care since the pandemic.

There are over 8,600 new foster families needed across the UK in 2021 and in Northern Ireland there has been a 4.8% increase of children in care since the pandemic.

According to the director of the Fostering Network NI, fewer people are also coming forward to offer foster homes.

Kathleen Toner said: “Often people think about fostering a number of times before coming forward.

“Families were under pressure prior to the pandemic and it may be that during this last year, they’ve put the prospect of fostering on hold.

“So, we really do need people to come forward to foster.”

Video journalist: Niall McCracken

Source link BBC NEWS UK

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