Number of children in foster care.

As of May 2019, there were 6, 012 children in care with 3,962 in foster care (general), 1,554 in foster care (relative/kinship), 392 in residential care, and other 104.

(Tusla, Child and Family Agency 2019)

Agency responsible for foster care in Ireland

Tusla, Child and Family Agency

There are two ways to contact Tusla’s Fostering Services:

1.                  By making an online query

2.                  By contacting Tusla’s regional foster service office

The details of making an enquiry are available online

Who can foster in Ireland?

Foster carers can be:

  • Couples – married, co-habiting, same gender
  • Single people – widowed, separated, divorced
  • People with disabilities – provided your disability or medical condition does not prevent you from caring for a child
  • People with or without children
  • People who own their own homes, are in private rented accommodation or local authority housing
  • Employed / Unemployed people
  • People from different cultures, ethnic or religious backgrounds – having carers from different cultures allows us to match children and young people with suitable families

(Tusla, 2019)

Are there any restrictions on who can foster in Ireland?

Not on the type of person(s) who can foster but, in all cases, it is vital that the foster carer(s):

·       can provide a stable, nurturing and loving environment for children

·       relate well to and have respect for children

·       do not have a Garda [police] record for violence, offences against children or other serious offences

·       can demonstrate flexibility, openness and patience

·       are willing to attend training courses to support your ongoing learning and skills base.

(Tusla, 2019)

Are there age restrictions on who can foster in Ireland?

Information differs according to sources, there does not seem to be upper age limit, but certain private fostering providers require applicants to be at least 25.

Payment of foster carers

Foster carers in Ireland do not get “paid” but receive an allowance for each child placed with them. The foster care allowance (as of August 2019) is currently €325 per week for each child under 12 years, and €352 per week for each child aged 12 years and over. When a young person between the ages of 18 and 21 is still in training or education, an Aftercare Allowance may be paid (Department of Children and Youth Affairs, 2019).

Who provides foster care services?

Tusla Child and Family Agency (State) and Private organisations such as Fostering First Ireland, Orchard Fostering, Five Rivers Fostering and others.

Fostering and kinship support groups

Irish Foster Care Association is the national umbrella organisation that provides support to foster carers in Ireland.

The IFCA contact details are as follows:



Phone + 353 1 459 9474

Support groups for young people in care and ageing out of care.

EPIC is a not-for-profit organisation which supports young people in care or who have had experience of being in care.


The EPIC contact details are as follows:



Phone: + 353 1 872 7661

Key legislation

Child Care Act 1991

Children’s Act 2001

The Child Care Amendment Act 2007

Child Care (Placement of Children in Foster Care) Regulations 1995

National Standards in Foster Care 2003