Generous rewards for foster carers for children from challenged backgrounds

This story was published 24 January 2022

Carers with the skills and experience to take on some of the most challenging fostering roles in North Yorkshire are being sought, with the prospect of highly attractive rewards.

Potential foster carers

Those rewards include payments and allowances that can add up to the equivalent of £41,000 a year – usually tax-free – but there is also an unquantifiable satisfaction in helping children from the most challenged backgrounds.

That means specialist foster carers need the resilience as well as the skills and knowledge to care for youngsters who will have complex needs, meaning they have the potential to be challenging.

Dealing with those demands gives those involved a real opportunity to make an immeasurable difference to the prospects of a child in their care – a reward some may find more appealing than the financial support available.

The level of the payments available mean it is possible for those who seek to take on the role to opt out of their previous career, allowing for a change of life while making a real difference to the community.

Fostering North Yorkshire is the team that works to identify foster homes and for candidates suitable for the role they offer comprehensive training and access to a dedicated fostering social worker, meaning the opportunity is available to develop skills.

Back-up is also available from other specialist carers and fostering staff, with direct access to support from County Council psychologists and other professionals.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “Any kind of fostering is a great way of helping society as well as specific young people, but specialist foster carers give an even more special service.

“That is why we need people who have experience, either working with or caring for young people with complex needs.

“The people we are looking for will be caring and compassionate, but with the ability and wherewithal to offer the intensive support the young people in their care are likely to need.

“This is not a role to under-estimate and that is reflected in the remuneration we are able to offer.

“But that isn’t everything, because we know from experience that foster carers who do take on these roles thrive on the challenges and get enormous satisfaction from using their skills and instinctive desire to care for others, to such good use.”

For an initial discussion about the role, contact the team on 01609 534654 or learn more about fostering.

Case study:

Uncertainty replaced with “incredible” experience for specialist foster carers

Empty-nesters looking for a new commitment in life are exactly the sort of candidates with the life-skills and knowledge to make a success of becoming specialist foster carers.

Children leaving home for university was exactly the impetus Aisha and Chris needed to spur them into action, after years of thinking about whether to get involved in fostering.

Aisha’s professional career, which had involved years of working with children in residential care, meant they were an ideal fit for the task.

She was aware the demands of the job would mean leaving her career to foster full-time, a change made financially possible by the high fees paid to specialist foster carers by North Yorkshire.

Like all potential fosterers, they had family discussions and open chats – including their own children – before taking the plunge.

The couple found the Fostering North Yorkshire team on hand to provide answers when they needed them and to introduce them to a network of peers and professionals to familiarise them with their new challenge.

They quickly found managing challenging situations – most complex children have experienced significant childhood trauma – to be incredibly rewarding emotionally.

Aisha said: “I have to admit we were quite apprehensive in the run up to the first young person who joined our family as we weren’t sure exactly what to expect or if we would know how to handle it.

“Now, looking back, I am so glad we made the move into specialist care. There have certainly been difficult times and we have heard about some really disturbing things that young people should never have to go through.

“But the change and growth in the children we have looked after, when they are offered a stable, caring, environment, is incredible to see.”

Cllr Janet Sanderson, said: “Aisha and Chris have now been specialist carers with us for a number of years, offering above and beyond in terms of support and care for the young people they have cared for. It certainly isn’t a straightforward role, but it is a truly needed and appreciated one.

“Our aim is to recruit North Yorkshire people into these roles to keep children as close as possible to the communities they recognise.

“The commitment of people who help to make this happen is wonderful to see."

* The identities of Aisha and Chris have been withheld to protect the young people they care for.