Film launched as 1,000 new foster carers urgently needed

Adult and child

The critical need to recruit up to 1,000 more foster carers in the region will be highlighted after we joined forces with other local authorities for a national campaign.

Seven key councils in Yorkshire and the Humber are working together this Foster Care Fortnight to highlight the need for one thousand more carers in the region with the launch of a short film on Sky TV.

The film about fostering features what it is like to be a carer and the moments both foster carers and children in care will experience as they work together to turn the child’s life around.

Meanwhile, to encourage others to come forward, a North Yorkshire foster carer has shared her own experience of the life-changing differences that she is making to the children who she has welcomed into her home.

About 1,000 new foster carers are needed in the Yorkshire and the Humber region, with more children coming into care than ever before. The fostering film will launch on Sky during the second week of Foster Care Fortnight 2024, which runs from May 13 to 26, as part of a joint campaign to ensure children and young people are cared for within their local area while increasing the number of fostering families in the region.

We have worked alongside Bradford Children and Families Trust, Calderdale Council, Hull City Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Kirklees Council and Leeds City Council to create the film.

Executive member for children and families, Cllr Janet Sanderson, said: “Foster Care Fortnight is a wonderful time to thank our foster carers for everything they do. Fostering is rewarding and challenging and the collaborative film we’ve made celebrates the moments that make a difference. We do need more foster carers to look after local children.”

In North Yorkshire alone, at any given time about 300 fostering families are needed to offer a safe and loving home to the local children in care.

A former headteacher, Julie Kent, from Selby has spent the last two years fostering siblings, Scott and Georgia aged nine and 10 and offers planned sleepovers to other children.

Julie, aged 58, has a 28-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter, and it was always part of her plan to foster when she retired and her children were older.

She said: “There have been many highs and lows and as a headteacher I thought I had seen it all. I hadn’t!

“The foster children I care for have experienced trauma in their life, so I’ve had difficult behaviour to deal with, sometimes 24/7 and my daughter had never witnessed that before.

“It’s been quite hard on my daughter to adjust, but she’s learning new skills to be able to manage the outbursts we get from the siblings.

Julie went onto explain how she has supported the children to broaden their horizons and achieve academically.

“When the children came to me, they hadn’t been going to school regularly, and hadn’t read an entire book ever,” she said. “They’ve just received certificates for 100 per cent attendance and a big high was getting through a whole book together.

“They had never been to a birthday party and never had a pair of wellies to jump in a puddle. They took part in sports day and previously have never had family there to support them, so the joy on their faces when they spotted me in the crowd was a delight to see.”

She added: “Being a foster carer is a ride. You have good days and bad days, and it helps to lower your expectations.

“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, or the children you care for. I feel well supported by Fostering North Yorkshire and other foster carers – we have a strong community. Take the little wins, take time out for yourself and for your own family. I don’t regret becoming a foster carer – watching the children grow up and seeing how they understand the world is lovely to see.”

Foster Care Fortnight is the UK’s biggest foster care awareness raising campaign, which is delivered by a leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, that was established in 1997.

The theme this year is #FosteringMoments to celebrate the specific times that build confidence, make young people feel safe and create memories.

Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer can text Foster to 88440.

Meanwhile, the Fostering North Yorkshire team will be out across the region during Foster Care Fortnight until Saturday, May 25. They will have pop-up stands in Northallerton, Harrogate, Scarborough, Selby, Stokesley and the Malton Food Lovers’ Festival. See full details of events.