Margaret loves them like her own

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS -

MARGARET has been a foster mother for 15 years and cur­rently has three foster chil­dren aged 19, 17 and 11.

The 19 year old is in what’s called ‘Af­ter Care’ which is what hap­pens chil­dren once they reach 18 years and are still in ed­u­ca­tion.

She has fos­tered over 12 chil­dren in those fif­teen years.

“Fos­ter­ing was al­ways some­thing at the back of my mind be­cause I had a sis­ter with spe­cial needs and I used to see other chil­dren in Cregg and thought ‘wouldn’t you just love to help chil­dren who had no mum?” she told The Sligo Cham­pion.

It was af­ter she had two chil­dren of her own that Margaret and her fam­ily de­cided to foster.

They’ve had mostly longterm place­ments and the chil­dren she has with her now have been with her for the past 14 years, the youngest since he was four months old.

“I love them all like my own. I re­spect their fam­i­lies. I’ve a great re­la­tion­ship with all their fam­i­lies and to be hon­est with you, that’s what makes it work.

“When you have a good re­la­tion­ship with the fam­ily, be­cause the child is not torn then between the foster fam­ily and the birth fam­ily. We ac­commo- date the birth fam­ily around ac­cess and spe­cial oc­ca­sions etc,” she said.

“You do what is the best for the chil­dren. You look at the big­ger pic­ture. What do you do to make these chil­dren happy?

“Every child comes into this world en­ti­tled to a good life. We’re here to make sure that child gets a good child­hood and get their ed­u­ca­tion, be happy and healthy,” said Margaret.

One of her foster chil­dren was lit­er­ally fly­ing the nest for over­seas the day we met.

“That’s what you do it for. You treat these chil­dren like your own kids too and you re­spect their fam­i­lies.

“I love it. I re­ally do en­joy it. It does come with it’s chal­lenges but it’s one day at a time.

“We get great sup­port from here (Sligo,Leitrim, West Ca­van Foster Care Re­source Ser­vices). It’s very re­ward­ing,” she said.

“If it will help a child it re­ally is a good road to go down. I can­not un­der­stand why more peo­ple don’t do it,” said Margaret.

Is it hard to see a child leave your fam­ily if they re­turn to their birth fam­i­lies?

“No, be­cause if they re­turn, it’s usu­ally to a very pos­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment and you en­cour­age that.

“The fam­ily that may have had some in­ter­ven­tion and it’s great to see the kids re­united with their fam­ily.

“It’s their hap­pi­ness that’s the pri­or­ity all along. That’s the goal , to reunite them with their fam­ily,” she said.

Some fam­i­lies just need some sup­port to get back on their feet again, which is where the Sligo,Leitrim, West Ca­van Foster Care Re­source Ser­vices run from Markievicz House play a role.

“Once you see that the kids are happy to go back you know that you’ve done some­thing pos­i­tive. Even a week­end respite to give the par­ents a break.

“The over­all goal is to en­sure the kids don’t feel dif­fer­ent from any other chil­dren,” she said.

“If you’ve time to give a child, you can foster. It’s not just tra­di­tional fam­i­lies,” said Margaret.

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