The Public Sector Award 2014

Five Rivers Fostering Professional Services

Our Aims and Objectives

Five Rivers Fostering's main objective is to be a leading provider of high quality foster care services. Our philosophy is to provide as normal an environment as possible for children and young people who cannot live with their own families.

We recognise that each young person is an individual with talents and qualities as well as difficulties and problems that are unique to them. We aim to tailor each placement to suit the needs of the child or young person being cared for. Five Rivers Ireland operates an anti-discriminatory policy and aims to recognise the culture and values of young people, carers and staff.

In order to achieve these aims and objectives Five Rivers Ireland has a wide range of foster families available and can offer many different types of foster families who can meet various placement needs. In addition Five Rivers Ireland has a wide range of resources available to support our foster families and the children and young people living in them.

The supports for foster families include:

Link Social Workers

One allocated to each family. In the first few weeks of a placement visits are weekly. Families will receive support visits at least every three weeks when placements are settled. Our families also have regular phone contact and visits can be increased as required.

Child Care Workers

This is a key role within our team. Our child care workers can do some direct work with children and young people in our care. Our child care workers also contribute to the training programme and support foster carers in doing some direct work with children.


At Five Rivers Ireland we have Marte Meo therapists and a play therapist. We can also access a wide range of supports including psychology, speech therapy and other supports on a consultative basis.


All new foster families are required to attend the “Foundations for Fostering” training course. This is a requirement under the National Standards for Foster Care. Five Rivers Ireland also provides “New Beginnings” training for young people who foster.

Post-approval training

Our Training and Development Leader co-ordinates an extensive training programme every year. Foster carers are required to attend a number of workshops each year. The workshops are delivered by Five Rivers Ireland staff and also by some external speakers.
Some of the topics include:
• Managing challenging behaviour
• Self-harm and suicide prevention
• Sexual health
• Child sexual abuse
• Working with separated children
• Attachment and feelings workshops
• Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

Service Offered

Five Rivers Ireland provides foster families for children and young people in need of placements. Five Rivers Ireland provides intensive support to all of our carers. This includes weekly support visits and access to 24 hour on-call services. Five Rivers Ireland will accept referrals from all community care areas. At present there are children placed from four community care areas. Two of these are based in the South Western Area region. Five Rivers Ireland has also completed some assessment work for a Local Authority in the UK. Under the umbrella of foster care there are a range of services available.

Our Educational Supports & Good Outcomes

Five Rivers Fostering have developed a comprehensive educational support to all children/young people placed within our service.

Foster parents, teachers and social workers working with young people placed in our service are provided with training, assessments and ongoing supports to enable the young people reach their full potential in their education.

Of the 14 young people who completed their second level education in the care of five rivers families last year, 2014. 13 of these young people went on to 3rd level education and the one young person who did not was relocated to the UK, to be reunited with his mother.

Under the umbrella of foster care there are a range of services available. These Services include:

Parent and child placements

We have a number of families who provide foster care to young parents and their children. These placements can provide mentoring support, assessment of parental capacity and a tailored care package to meet the needs of the person and their child to enable them to grow and develop.

Emergency foster care

Five Rivers Ireland has a bank of foster families who provide emergency placements to children outside of normal office hours. These families are available to the Gardaí who need to invoke Section 12 of the Child Care Act outside of normal office hours. In addition Five Rivers Ireland has a number of families who can care for children at very short notice.

Long-term and short-term foster care

We have a range of foster families across the country who are in a position to care for children of various ages. Many of our families are ideally positioned to care for sibling groups. Access arrangements are supported and facilitated by the foster families. Families work closely with the Tusla Child and Family Agency social workers, Five Rivers Ireland and other agencies to ensure that the care plan for children is supported and followed through.

Relative carer assessment / support

Five Rivers Ireland continues to provide assessment, training and support packages for relative foster carers. We do this both in partnership with the Tusla Child and Family Agency and with Local Authorities in the UK who wish to place children with relatives in Ireland. There are a range of support packages available which can meet the different needs of children and young people being cared for.

Specific Assessments or Support Work

Five Rivers Ireland has carried out some independent assessment work for Local Authorities in the UK. Some examples of this included; supervision, monitoring and assessment of access visits for children visiting relatives in the Republic of Ireland, Special Guardianship Order Assessments, support and assessment of foster families living in Ireland and preparation of reports for court.
This may be useful where potential carers live outside of the community care area or where an independent assessment has been requested. The costings for such services are set on an individual basis.

Preparation for return home and after care support

In Five Rivers Ireland we have an excellent record of supporting children and young people to return to the care of their own families, when this is possible. We have provided intensive support for foster carers and birth families to work together in the best interests of the child or young person. Support includes mentoring by foster carers and engagement with childcare worker to learn skills for managing challenges that they may face. Post placement follow up support is also provided with the aim of giving a reunification the best chance of success.

Enhanced foster care packages

The costs of placing young people in residential services are high both in relation to financial costs and institutionalisation of the young person. Over the past two years Five Rivers Ireland has supported twenty five children and young people to make the transition from residential care into a foster family. We have also been able to provide highly supported placements to some children who would otherwise have been placed in residential care.
The Enhanced Foster Care Package has been developed with a view to supporting young people with more complex needs to be cared for within a family setting. This service is tailored to suit the specific needs of each individual child and as such the supports provided will vary.

For further information about this service, please contact Brian Dignam in our Dublin Office.


At Five Rivers Ireland we recognise that Tusla Child and Family Agency Social Workers have high caseloads and are constantly under pressure to write reports / referrals etc. We have designed our referral process to take this into account and also to ensure that children's private information is respected.

How to make a referral

Placements in Munster: Cork Office: Tel:  021-7355977  Fax: 021-4849049
All other Counties: Dublin Office Tel: +353-1-8665290 Fax: +353-1-8976210
Email: info@fiveriversireland.ie

Telephone Five Rivers Ireland office or send an email / fax with a general enquiry. A member of Five Rivers Ireland social work staff will ask a few questions about the young person being referred. While doing this they complete the Initial Referral Form. At this point you will be informed of any families that might meet the needs of the child / children being referred. Plans can then be made for the child’s placement to commence. When a placement is required in an emergency, the basic information will still be required. Further paperwork should follow within two days of placement.

If a placement is identified, the child’s social worker will be asked to complete a more detailed Referral Form.


Five Rivers Ireland is acutely aware of the challenges that the Tusla Child and Family Agency faces in terms of managing budgets and the need to make best use of scarce resources available. Five Rivers Ireland is a Social Enterprise and as such is committed to investing in foster families and young people whether through enhanced training opportunities, education support or access to specialist services.

Five Rivers Ireland has revised fees downwards to reflect the current climate. Placements can be purchased on a “spot purchase” basis or alternatively a contract basis for increased volume of placements. Where there is increased volume, reduced fees have been negotiated.
Full details of up to date fees can be obtained from either Deirdre McDonagh or Brian Dignam in our Dublin office at:
deirdre.mcdonagh@fiveriversireland.ie or brian.dignam@fiveriversireland.ie

Dublin Office

Five Rivers Ireland
Unit 4, Block 8
Corporate Business Park 1
Dublin 15
Tel: 01 866 5290
Fax: 01 897 6210

Cork Office

Five Rivers Ireland
First Floor
Discovery House
Unit 22
Airport East Business Park
Farmers Cross
Tel:  021 735 5977  
Fax: 021 484 9049