Inspirational Tracy is Foster Carer of the Year

 

By Julie Waters

 

INSPIRATIONAL Tracy Harrison has been named as the Foster Carer of the Year at a prestigious ceremony at the Europa Hotel recently.

 Over the past three decades, devoted foster carer Tracy Harrison alongside her husband Geordie have provided a loving home for nearly 300 children.

In recognition of her tireless dedication, Tracy was presented with the Inspirational Foster Carer of the Year award at the Local Women Magazine Inspirational Women of the Year Awards.

As well as opening her home and heart to children aged from six months to 22 years old,  Tracy is head of children and young people at Kilcooley Women’s Centre.

As well as having a busy career and bringing up their four children, Tracy was keen to make a ‘positive impact’ on the lives of children of all ages, walks of life and needs.

She explained how her fostering journey began. “We initially became foster carers to help keep siblings together, as we have four children of our own and couldn’t bear the thought of them being separated if anything happened to us. Because of this, we were happy to take in multiple children to ensure families stayed united.

“I have been a foster carer for the Belfast Trust for nearly 30 years, caring for children ranging from six months to 22 years old until they completed their education.

“For the past 20 years, my husband and I have been part of the Adolescent Fostering Partnership (AFP) Team, specifically focusing on caring for teenagers.

“Working with teenagers is challenging, especially considering the additional issues they face and the difficulty of settling into a family unit after coming into care.”

Looking back over the past three decades, Tracy said: “We have fostered nearly 300 children, including those in respite, short-term, and long-term care.

“Currently, we are fostering five teenagers, including two sets of siblings from diverse cultural and cross-community backgrounds, and we have also cared for many children with disabilities.”

She highlighted the many rewards of fostering. “Despite the challenges of fostering, it is a vocation for us,” she said.

“Seeing the positive impact we can make in these young people’s lives is immensely rewarding and reaffirms that we are doing something meaningful and valuable.”

Alison Blayney, Kilcooley Women’s Centre chief executive officer, said Tracy has also inspired her sister and four children to become foster carers.

“At Kilcooley Women’s Centre, we have always known she is inspiring, and we are thrilled to see her and her husband Geordie receive this well-deserved recognition,” said Alison.