Fostering North Yorkshire (FNY) looks after around 300 children across the county at any one time – and it takes some very dedicated people to care for them.

There’s often a number of reasons why the children and young people in need of foster care can’t stay with their birth families. However, the one thing they have in common is the need for a caring family to help keep them safe, secure and happy – offering everything from a short break to a permanent home.

“Being a foster carer is an incredibly important job, helping to develop positive experiences and skills that have sometimes been missed out on earlier in life” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services.

“Foster carers who look after young people for FNY come from many backgrounds, but one thing they have in common is a desire to make a difference to the lives of those they foster, and to help them through this difficult time in their lives.”

The achievements of these foster carers were celebrated at FNY’s annual conference, when over 100 of them got together to think back on another year of looking after some of the county’s most vulnerable young people. During seminars, group discussions, and breaks the foster families got the chance to share experiences and enjoy each other’s company.

The end of the day saw a presentation of long service awards to mark the valued contribution made to providing safe and secure homes for the county’s looked-after children.  This year, one of the foster carers has been fostering for 30 years.  The presentations were made by the new Director for Children’s Services, Stuart Carlton, who said: “the conference has been a tremendous opportunity to share ideas and celebrate the care that foster carers offer every day, truly transforming the lives of our looked-after children.”

FNY is committed to ensuring that the children and young people it looks after can stay in their local communities and its carers are given the best training available. They get knowledgeable support from locally based fostering social work teams; access to professional experts in education, mental and physical health; and specialist services for autism and speech and language where needed.

Fostering with FNY also brings generous tax-free allowances. A FNY accredited carer receives more than £300 each week tax-free for fostering a child aged 11 to 15, equivalent to £15,785 per annum (the example is based on a 52-week placement).

For more information visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/fostering or call Fostering North Yorkshire on 01609 534654.