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A Decade of Fostering Inspired by Charity Appeal

Danie

 

A Warrenpoint couple who were inspired to take up fostering after an appeal on Children In Need have celebrated reaching 10 years as foster carers.

Daniel and Mary Maechling joined the UK’s leading fostering agency Foster Care Associates (FCA) right at the beginning of its journey in Northern Ireland a decade ago this year.

In fact the caring couple were handed an award for their 10 years of service at a special conference held in Belfast to celebrate FCA Northern Ireland’s anniversary, attended by the Commissioner for Children and Young People Patricia Lewsley-Mooney, who presented their award.

Mr Maechling, originally from France, said he and his Northern Irish wife Mary had decided to pursue a career as foster carers after a particularly moving television appeal.

The 66-year-old said: “It was about 12 years ago, Mary was a headmistress in a school in Worthing, in Southern England but we also had a small house in Newcastle, County Down, we would go and stay in the holidays.

“We decided to move back to Northern Ireland, as that is where Mary is from, but we didn’t really know what we wanted to do.

“Then we were watching an appeal on Children In Need which was really moving and instead of just writing a cheque we thought, why don’t we actually do something – so we decided to look into fostering.

“At the time FCA was just starting in Northern Ireland but we knew it was the right fit for us straight away.”

The couple, who also have five of their own children and five grandchildren, haven’t looked back since and Mr Maechling said they haven’t regretted their choice for a second.

He added: “We had a long term placement for nine years and then decided after that that came to an end we would concentrate on doing respite care which has been really good.

“There have been challenges along the way but lots of great stuff as well. We have certainly learned a lot and that is why I would encourage people to foster.

“The support has been absolutely fantastic from FCA. We have always had a very good social worker working with us and felt valued.”

FCA regional manager in Northern Ireland Feargal O’Keefe, paid tribute to the Maechlings and encouraged more people to think about becoming foster carers.

He said: “It was wonderful to be able to present Daniel and Mary with an award for their fantastic service during the 10 years we have been in Northern Ireland.

“They are terrifically dedicated to the role and are an inspiration to us all. At FCA we’re looking to recruit more committed foster carers like Daniel and Mary. If you’re thinking about a career in care I would urge you to pick up the phone and take that first step.”

If you think you have the patience, commitment and enthusiasm to foster a child or young person, have a spare bedroom and a willingness to learn, contact FCA on 0800 434 6000 or visit www.thefca.co.uk. FCA welcomes applications from single parents, married and co-habiting couples as well as same sex couples.

How can we help?

Ready to start fostering a child or young person? Or just want a bit more information to help you decide whether fostering is for you? All you need to do is contact us.

Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we're here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

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Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we,re here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call me back

Haven't got time to chat now? Leave your details and we'll call you back at a time that suits you:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Why do we need this? So we can email you a brochure.
  • Why do we need this? We appreciate that starting to foster is a big decision that needs careful consideration and you are likely to have questions. We’d like to help answer those questions.
  • Please enter your postcode to see news and events in you area
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.