Since the summer of 1982, the Rochester ICP has introduced hundreds of Belfast children to the American concepts of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. Children, who may not be allowed to venture into each other’s Belfast neighborhoods because of fear of violence or retaliation have learned here to play together, laugh together, and most importantly, to live together. They have learned something about their own worth as individuals. They have felt the love of strangers, who like you, will have opened their homes and hearts without the thought of compensation.
What the Irish Children’s Program has tried to do is to instill a vision of a future with promise, instead of a tone of hollow violence that has led to so many tragedies and has touched so many lives.
What we expect from our host families is simple: love, room and board. We do not ask our first time host families to pay the cost of the airfare for their child. There ARE other expenses associated with being a host family, however. Click here to learn more about host family obligations
APPLICATIONS CAN ONLY BE ACCEPTED from families who have attended an Information Meeting to learn about the program. At the conclusion of this meeting you will be offered a Host Family application and an About Me form for the host child. If you are interested in hosting a child these forms must be completed and delivered to the ICP WITHIN TWO WEEKS. Our Selection Committee who will then organize all the applications and begin the process of scheduling family interviews.
Upon acceptance of your family information an ICP Board Member will contact you to schedule a convenient time for your family interview. It is important that the entire family is present at this interview and that the interview takes place at your home. At the mutually accepted day and time, two members of our Board of Driectors will arrive for the interview which should last approximately 1 1/2 hours. They will be asking questions of both parents and children as well as answer any questions regarding the program. This is an excellent opportunity for families to find out more in-depth information from our Board Members who have all hosted children in the past or are still hosting. After completion of the interview, the interviewers will forward all necessary information back to our Selection Committee.
The Selection Committee will carefully examine all the information supplied and contact you around the middle of February regarding the status of your application to host a Belfast child.
Once host families have been selected they will be required to attend the Host Family Meeting at which you will receive further information regarding hosting your Belfast child.
The Matchup Event is held in May. This is the much-anticipated event where you will learn who your Belfast child will be. You will be supplied with information about, and a photo of, your child. At this event you will also create a short video, with the assistance ICP board members, of your family which will be sent to Belfast for viewing by your child. This is your opportunity to introduce your family to your visiting child.
The pre-arrival meeting is held shortly before the Belfast children arrive in the US. You will be given last minute instructions regarding the day of arrival.