Beverley Ringland is a Fostering Project Manager with Action for Children Foster Care NI. She lives in Annahilt with her husband of 20 years, Thomas.
Beverley has worked with children and young people for over two decades and it is something particularly important to her. She joined Action for Children, which supports and speaks out for the most vulnerable children and young people in the UK, in 2006.
The charity has been working with the UK's most vulnerable children since 1869 and it was called NCH until September of this year.
Three days a week I go to the gym in Lisburn so I have a 6am start. I then head to work between 7.30am and 7.40am. My office is located at the Holywood Exchange so it takes quite a while to get there with the busy traffic. When I arrive I check my emails. When we have public notices in the papers or other media outlets I- often receive requests from people who would like more information on fostering so I reply to these as quickly as I can. I also have a lot of correspondence with foster carers who I regularly keep in touch with.
Most days vary. Sometimes I'll be out and about visiting potential foster carers. We provide a regional service so I could be anywhere in Northern Ireland talking to people about our service and the type of placements we are looking for, what is involved and what training and assessments are required. I generally work with young people aged between 5 - 18.
Our foster carers receive comprehensive training, ongoing support and excellent fees and allowances. We believe all sorts of people can fulfil this rewarding role and we know many more are needed to give vital support to vulnerable children and young people. We operate monthly training sessions and support groups for foster carers to help them to meet the needs of the young people they are looking after.
I liaise with the local trusts who request placements they need for their young people. The matching process depends on the needs of the young person and what carers can provide. I then match possible foster carers with the young person and discuss possible placements. Gail, a social worker, works alongside me but as we are such a small team and we cover the entire region there is a lot of work to do.
Gail and I are there to support the carers throughout the process. We also provide an on call service 24 hours a day just in case there is an emergency or if a foster carers would like to discuss something on the phone.
Action for Children is committed to helping the most vulnerable children and young people break through injustice, deprivation and inequality, so they can achieve their full potential Our foster care projects help us strive to achieve this.
I am also responsible for the marketing campaigns aimed at attracting more people to become foster carers. When we run a campaign I am generally busier than normal. A young person will be with a foster carer for as long as it takes. This really is our motto. I also organise social evenings for foster carers and their families to come along with the young people and enjoy an activity such as bowling. We do this several times a year.
In my spare time I enjoy water sports and cooking for my family and friends.
My job is very rewarding as I know I am working in an environment with vulnerable children who really need good quality Foster Carers.