A group of dedicated people has been celebrating another great year of looking after more than 300 children and young people across the county.
The occasion was the annual Fostering North Yorkshire (FNY) conference, which brings together foster carers, children, their support workers, childcare professionals, county councillors and staff.
The keynote speaker, Scott King, spoke from experience – and the heart – during his contribution at the conference. Scott and his brother grew up in the care system themselves and know how the decisions both social workers and foster carers make can have a profound effect on the lives of the young people in their care.
He now runs a company that specialises in training foster carers and child care professionals and focuses on the need to consider how the thoughts and feelings that young people in care have as a result of their previous experiences can be demonstrated through their behaviour.
Scott spoke about his own experiences in care and his key message was that care givers must concentrate on influencing positive behaviour change in the young people they care for, not judge or punish them.
Councillor Janet Sanderson, executive member for children’s services, said: “Scott’s presentation reflected very much the ethos of FNY. We recognise that being a foster carer is an incredibly important job, helping to develop positive relationships, experiences and skills that have sometimes been missed out on earlier in life.
“Foster carers who look after young people for FNY come from many backgrounds, but they all want to make a difference to the lives of children and young people they foster and to help them through this difficult time in their lives. The conference is a great opportunity for them to meet fellow carers, chat with staff and hear talks from some of the world’s leading childcare experts. It’s also an opportunity for us to recognise their work and present long service certificates to so many of them.”
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.
As well as huge personal satisfaction, fostering with FNY brings with it generous tax-free payments and allowances, and while this is not the main motivation for most foster carers, additional income streams can be very welcome. For example, an accredited foster 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 https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/fostering or call Fostering North Yorkshire on 01609 534654.