Irish Foster Care Association Seminar: Castlebar (25 May)

Thursday, August 29, 2013 Press Office
Press Release

GMIT's Nursing and Health Sciences Dept, Castlebar, will host the Irish Foster Care Association (IFCA) May Seminar "What makes a difference in foster care" on Friday 25 May. Some 70 delegates are expected to attend the event which will be formally opened by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald at 9.15am.

Keynote speakers include Dr Mark Garavan, co-ordinator of the Applied Social Studies programmes in GMIT and a social care practitioner who has worked with homeless people and young people; Cahal McHale, former Principal Social Worker for Alternative Care Services, Donegal, who has over 30 years experience in developing, supporting and managing foster care services; Helen Gogarty, Attachment and Jungian Therapist who has worked in the field of fostering and adoptions since 1985; and Fergus Hogan, social worker and family therapist and co-ordinator of the Centre for Social and Family Research at Waterford IT.

A new book "Compassionate Activism, An exploration of Integral Social Care" by Dr Mark Garavan will be launched after the final forum, at 4.15pm. Dr Garavan lectures in Applied Social Studies in GMIT Castlebar. His social care experience includes working with homeless people in Dublin Simon Community and young people in a residential youth work project in Carlow.

Diarmuid Kearney, Irish Foster Care Association, says: "Over 90% of the 6,000 children in the care of the State are being looked after by foster carers. This makes fostering the single most important pillar in the care of vulnerable children. It is essential that these carers are trained and supported in their complex and challenging task. This important partnership between the Irish Foster Care Association and GMIT is an innovative and fresh approach to meeting carers' needs and we are delighted to be involved".

Ken Hogan, Head of the Dept of Nursing & Health Sciences, GMIT Castlebar, says: "The Institute is delighted to be in a position to support the very necessary work that the Irish Foster Care Association carries out. Community Engagement is a central pillar of the GMIT Strategic Development Plan 2012 – 2015. We welcome anybody who has an interest in the foster care or related area to book their attendance at this event."

The IFCA seminar in GMIT is open to the general public; €50 for IFCA members, €75 for non-members and €20 for students. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. For further information and to book a place, contact Sandra Twyford, IFCA, tel. 01-459 9474 or email:

See the full schedule:…