Today marked the official opening of Saoire, Tusla’s new residential respite centre in Letterkenny. Saoire provides a respite and support service for children and young people between the ages of six and 17 who are living at home or in foster care and require additional supports to maintain their placement in a family environment. This typically means spending a few nights at the centre surrounded by friendly staff, enjoyable activities and an opportunity to avail of a range of supports and interventions offered to help equip them better for family life.

Commenting at the opening today, Donal McCormack, National Service Director, Residential Childcare Services, Tusla said: “I’m delighted to officially open Saoire. The centre was developed as a respite centre after careful consideration of the needs of children and young people in Donegal. It’s fantastic that a centre such as Saoire can help to maintain long-term placements, and can provide valuable supports and interventions.”

The centre has capacity to work with up to for fifteen children and families at any one time. Its objective is to support children and young people who need supplementary assistance to assist in sustaining their continued placement in a family environment. The length of each placement depends upon each young person’s needs as outlined in their respite plan and their progress through the Welltree Wellbeing Outcomes Framework.

Mr McCormack continued: “Saoire has undergone extensive renovation to ensure that it provides a homely, welcoming environment for young people to come to. Respite centres are important as they provide a respite option for both children and families in need of such an intervention without breaking the essential link between the full time placement and the child.

Some of the services provided by the centre include planned respite breaks, individually tailored placement plans, outreach support for the young people and families/foster carers, 24 hour telephone support. Saoire’s respite programme is based on offering the young people as much choice as possible in order to have meaningful participation by the young people in the service from choice of activities, outreach service, and over how they wish to make use of the overall respite plan. It works to build on the strengths of young people and their families to sustain them in family life in the future."

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