Take time to foster, time to care and you could change a life – that’s the message from Fostering North Yorkshire as it gears up for a national foster care campaign next week.
Every year, Fostering North Yorkshire supports Foster Care Fortnight, a national event promoted by the Fostering Network to raise awareness of the need for more foster carers. This year the fortnight starts on Monday 16 May and takes the theme ‘Take time to foster, time to care’. The aim of the campaign is to encourage people who have been thinking about fostering to step forward and provide a home to a vulnerable young person.
Fostering North Yorkshire is part of North Yorkshire County Council and it has an impressive record of placing children and young people in care with foster families. There is always a need, however, for more people to come forward, particularly those willing to give a safe and caring home to vulnerable teenagers or to offer a short-term placement to a disabled child.
Around 340 children are looked after by North Yorkshire foster carers every year and to keep up with demand the County Council needs to recruit around 50 new fostering families in 2016. This includes needing carers interested not in full-time care but in offering short breaks, particularly for disabled children with additional or complex needs.
“Foster caring is a challenging yet immensely rewarding experience, and carers often describe it as the best thing they’ve ever done,” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services.
“Our foster carers come from a wide range of backgrounds and family make-up, but what they all have in common is their desire to provide a secure and welcoming home for some of the county’s most vulnerable children.
“People often think they can’t foster because they are single, work, or are too old, but none of these things matter. We’re looking for people who have space in their home – and their heart – for a young person and can offer them a positive and loving home environment. By becoming a foster carer, people have the opportunity to change a young person’s life for good. How satisfying would that be!”
David Stubbs has been fostering with Fostering North Yorkshire for around six years. He’s a single foster carer and is happy to share his fostering journey: “My social worker is very supportive, and the network of other foster carers is great. I really appreciate the opportunity to talk through issues with them as I don’t have a partner to talk things over with.
“My message to anyone thinking of fostering is – if I can do it, you can. And if kids are struggling through life, if you can give them a leg up – what better thing is there to do?
“I’ve never regretted doing it for a minute, although there have been some difficult times. But when I can see they are in a good place – happy and smiling and full of laughter… well, knowing you are making a difference is just priceless. So please give it a go with Fostering North Yorkshire.”
For more information about becoming a foster carer with Fostering North Yorkshire, please visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/fostering or call Fostering North Yorkshire on 01609 534654.