“I like fostering because it changes the lives of young people dramatically” – that’s what Liana says about the care and support her parents Tom and Alison give to some of North Yorkshire’s young people who can’t live at home with their birth families.
Liana and her parents, along with Fostering North Yorkshire’s many fostering families, are getting ready to celebrate Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from 13 to 26 May. Foster Care Fortnight is The Fostering Network's annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and to show how foster care transforms lives. Its theme this year is Change a Future.
Fostering North Yorkshire (FNY) is part of North Yorkshire County Council and has a great record of placing children and young people in care with local foster families. More than 300 children are looked after by the county’s fostering families every year and FNY is seeking to recruit a number of new carers in 2019, including people interested in offering long term care and those able to offer overnight short breaks for disabled children with additional or complex needs.
County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services said: “Getting involved in Foster Care Fortnight is a great way to help raise awareness that fostering is about changing futures – both those of young people and fostering families themselves.
“Foster caring is a challenging yet immensely rewarding experience and foster families like Liana’s often describe it as the best thing they’ve ever done – and often the best fun they’ve had.
“Our fostering families 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 – and help change a future.
“We know that people often think they can’t foster because they are single, in a same sex relationship, 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.”
Fostering with FNY also 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, for every week a child is in placement.
For more information about becoming a foster carer with Fostering North Yorkshire, visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/fostering or call Fostering North Yorkshire on 01609 534654.
Liana’s story - birth children play a big part in fostering too
Liana lives with her parents Tom and Alison on the coast - here’s what she told us about life in a fostering family:
“I like fostering because it changes the lives of young people dramatically. Sometimes the children we foster haven’t had the best start in life and need help to learn how to look after themselves and make friends with people. It’s great watching them grow healthier and more self-confident. Sometimes it’s challenging but it’s always greatly rewarding.
“I enjoy fostering and having people to help look after. There’s always something to do in our house with so many of us. I get excited when someone new comes to stay with us - it can take a while for them to settle in but once they do, it’s one big family and we have lots of fun”.
Meet Jan Moorcroft
Jan’s entire career has been focussed on children and young people, particularly those who have not had the best start to their lives. She started out as a teacher and then moved in to social work, and had also managed a residential home for children and young people before becoming a special needs and short breaks foster carer. She went on to offer emergency and respite fostering and has now fostered for over ten years.
Jan has recently taken up a new role within Fostering North Yorkshire’s new Mockingbird team. Fostering North Yorkshire, in conjunction with The Fostering Network, is delivering the Mockingbird programme, which is an innovative method of foster care using the Mockingbird Family Model. This is an extended family model that provides sleepovers and short breaks, peer support, regular joint planning and training, and social activities. The programme improves the stability of fostering placements and strengthens the relationships between carers, children and young people, fostering services and birth families.
Jan will be the Mockingbird Hub Home Foster Carer for the Scarborough area. She says: “I was really interested when the Mockingbird role came up, as it seemed a natural extension of the kind of fostering I was already doing. The benefits to the children and young people in our Mockingbird group - known as a ‘constellation’ - are huge and we are just beginning to see these as the scheme develops.”