We are recruiting - could you foster and help change a life?
Every year, Fostering North Yorkshire looks after more than 300 children and young people at any one time, in fostering placements across the county. They range from babies to teenagers, come from many backgrounds, and have various needs, but they have one thing in common - they are all in need of a caring family to help them feel safe, secure and happy.
We are keen to recruit both new and experienced foster carers - if you think you could offer the care and support these children need, we want to hear from you. You can find out more about the children and young people we need foster placements for, and about our great financial packages, excellent training and locally based support by calling us on 01609 534654 or simply complete an expression of interest form.
All kinds of people foster. People often think that they can't foster because they're single, work full-time or are too old, but none of these things matter.
You need to be over 21 and have a spare room, but most importantly, you need to have the right skills and qualities to provide the best possible care for vulnerable local children.
You can foster...
- If you're married, single, gay or straight.
- If you own your home or rent.
- If you work full-time, part-time, are self employed, unemployed or retired.
- If you're aged over 21 and are fit enough to care for a child or teenager.
- Whether you're disabled or not - all applicants have a medical to assess their fitness to care for a child
- Whatever your ethnicity, religion or culture.
What we're really interested in are the skills and qualities you could bring to fostering. You will need to be:
- Patient, committed and resilient.
- A good listener and able to understand how children behave when they've been emotionally or physically hurt.
- Available to look after a child before and after school, during holidays or when the child is sick.
- Active and have a healthy lifestyle.
- Experienced in care, whether it's bringing up your own children, or working with children or vulnerable adults.
It's vital that you have the support of your family, as they will play an important part in making any placement. If you have children, they will need to be asked if they want to be involved in fostering, as it affects them as well. It's a decision that affects everybody, but everybody can benefit, too.
While having a criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from fostering, we will need to know whether you or any member of your household has a police record or is known to social services. This is so we can make sure that a child will be safe in your care. However, you will not be approved to foster if you or any member of your household has a criminal record of offences against children.
If you are a smoker, we wouldn't place a child under five years of age with you.
As a foster carer you will need to:
- Make sure the child has a healthy lifestyle, attends school and receives any educational or medical support they need.
- Establish a routine and set boundaries for behaviour.
- Enable the child to maintain contact with their family.
- Help the child build healthy relationships with others.
- Speak up on the child's behalf to make sure they receive the care and support they are entitled to.
- Work as part of a team with other care professionals.
- Keep written records about the child.
There are several types of foster care you could provide, depending on what works best for you and your family.
We will work with you to decide what age group, gender or number of children you're best suited to look after.
Brothers and sisters
It's really important for brothers and sisters to stay together, so we need foster carers prepared to look after more than one child. It can be very distressing for children to be separated from their adult family members, so we need to make sure brothers and sisters can comfort and support each other at such a difficult time.
Being a teenager can be a confusing, emotional and challenging time for any child, and going through family breakdown or upheaval can make life difficult for some. It is vital vulnerable teenagers get the support and stability they need to help them become well-adjusted adults.
Most of the children who need foster care require a place to stay for a short period, usually between three months and two years. This is while their situation is assessed and long-term arrangements are made, whether the children are going back to their families or moving on to adoption. Foster carers need to be able to make children feel safe and at home during this time, and to help day-to-day life carry on as well as possible.
Sometimes, children are unable to return to live with their family and will either be placed with adopters or looked after by foster carers until they reach adulthood. Providing stability, care and support throughout childhood is one of the most rewarding aspects of permanent or long-term foster care, helping vulnerable children grow into happy and secure young adults.
Sometimes children need somewhere to stay at very short notice and for just a few days. This could start at the weekend or in the middle of the night, so carers offering emergency placements need to be flexible.
Carers and parents need breaks too, so respite fostering gives those looking after children the chance to spend time focusing on their own lives and relax for a weekend or a few days.
Family-based overnight short breaks
Parents or carers of disabled children may need regular breaks, sometimes over a long period of years, to support them in the task of bringing up their child. If you have a particular interest in, or experience of working with disabled children, then being a short breaks carer could be for you.
Our family-based overnight short breaks scheme leaflet (pdf / 215 KB) (pdf / 215 KB) has more information.
Family and friends foster care
If you're looking after the child of a relative or friend on a full-time basis, either temporarily or permanently, then this is called family and friends foster care.
No Wrong Door fostering
No Wrong Door is an exciting and innovative programme that is designed to improve radically the life chances of some of our most vulnerable and challenging young people, and reduce the numbers ending up either homeless or in the criminal justice system.
We aim to break the traditional cycle of young people entering the care system in their teenage years, following a path of multiple placements, periods in residential care and placement breakdown. Our hubs are in Harrogate and Scarborough, and these replace former council run children's homes in the county.
- No Wrong Door Hub Community Families. Fostering our most vulnerable young people is an incredible journey - we need foster carers who are available full time and have experience of working with or fostering young people with complex and challenging behaviour. In return we offer a generous fee, support from a great team and the reward of knowing you are making a real difference to the life of a teenager.
- No Wrong Door Supported Lodgings Hosts. If you enjoy making a difference, becoming a host is a great way to earn an additional income. It's not as hands-on as fostering, so suits people who may be working full or part-time. You're not offering a permanent home, but somewhere for a young person to stay until they're ready to live alone.
Both roles also offer an additional opportunity of paid work in one of our children's homes, along with excellent training and development opportunities.
Unaccompanied asylum seeking children in North Yorkshire
Local authorities across the country are taking part in the resettlement of unaccompanied asylum seeking children - young people aged under 18 who are applying for asylum and have no relative or guardian in this country.
It is estimated that on average two or three unaccompanied asylum seeking children a month will be arriving in North Yorkshire over the next couple of years, fleeing conflict or persecution in countries including Afghanistan and Eritrea. Some have been living in camps in Northern Europe. These children and young people are arriving with few belongings and sometimes little grasp of the English language.
On arrival, they undergo an assessment to ensure they are placed in a safe and secure family environment that is the best fit for them. With the estimated numbers of children, Fostering North Yorkshire now needs foster carers who have the skills, compassion and willingness to care for one of these young people who have already been through a lot in their lives.
Foster carers for these children will need to be welcoming, open to learning about new cultures, and able to nurture and encourage them to settle in to life in a new country. Our locally based social work teams, networks of foster carers and quality training will ensure you receive all the support you need. Plus our usual competitive financial packages are in place.
So, if you are able to give time to help a child or young person and you have space in your home to do so, please contact us on 01609 534654 to find out more about fostering asylum seeking children who are separated from their families. You really will be making an enormous difference!
'Fostering has its challenges, but I wouldn't change it for the world'
Fostering provides stability and a safe and caring environment for children who, for whatever reason, are unable to live with their own families. Many need to be looked after for a short period before returning to their family; others need to stay in foster care for much longer.
All our foster carers have their own stories of their experience of fostering. They tell of ups and downs, successes and failures, but all have one thing in common - a heartfelt desire to give a young person the childhood they deserve.
"If you come across problems ... there are so many people there to help"
Some children and young people need permanent foster placements that they will stay in for the rest of their childhood. The support, encouragement and understanding our foster carers give the child they are looking after helps them to learn to see life more positively, start to trust, and develop social skills.
The main role of a foster carer is to provide a safe, secure and happy home for a child who needs it.
There are some key responsibilities as well.
As a foster carer you will need to:
- Make sure the child has a healthy lifestyle, attends school and receives any educational or medical support they need;
- Establish a routine and set boundaries for behaviour;
- Enable the child to maintain contact with their family;
- Help the child build healthy relationships with others;
- Speak up on the child's behalf to make sure they receive the care and support they are entitled to;
- Work as part of a team with other care professionals; and
- Keep written records about the child.
Our Guide to Fostering (pdf / 591 KB) has lots of useful information if you are considering fostering in North Yorkshire.
Why choose Fostering North Yorkshire?
- We are right on your doorstep so you can count on us to be here when you need us.
- We prioritise our approved carers, and approach them first before talking to agencies.
- Unlike most independent fostering agencies, we operate strictly as a not-for-profit service, keeping children at the heart of all we do.
- Our Ofsted Outstanding Provider rating means the support and training package you receive as a foster carer will be second to none.