Just be yourself, take the time to listen, remember there is support there whenever you need it, and you could be the one to turn a teenager’s life around.
That is the message in a powerful new film from Fostering North Yorkshire.
Called Fostering Teenagers, Changing Lives, the film challenges the myth that fostering teenagers is always difficult. It features some of North Yorkshire’s most skilled foster carers and some of the young people who have experienced life in the care system at first hand. They acknowledge how much they have benefited from the people who have been there for them.
Fostering North Yorkshire is part of North Yorkshire County Council and has an impressive record of placing the children and young people in its care with local foster families. More than 300 children are looked after by the county’s foster carers every year. These foster carers 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.
“A new year brings new opportunities, so Fostering North Yorkshire is asking anyone who has a spare bedroom - and a desire to offer support to a young person - to take the time to watch this film and consider helping a young person to make a new start,” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services.
“It’s full of inspirational moments - with our foster carers saying how much fostering means to them and how much support and encouragement they receive from Fostering North Yorkshire.
“There are very moving remarks from some of our young people as well. Vicky, one of our care leavers who’s gone on to make a successful career for herself in a hair salon, tells us that foster care has brought the best out of her, while Jamie says that he’d like to introduce a child in care ‘to a family like I’ve got’.’’
Lots of people would like to foster but feel taking on a teenager would be too much of a challenge, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Gill, one of Fostering North Yorkshire’s experienced local foster carers, uses the film to take the opportunity to reassure them. She said: ‘Don’t be concerned. There’s support there from the get-go. The teenager being fostered has a social worker but so do you - and they’re always there for you at the end of a phone whenever you need them’.
The young people Fostering North Yorkshire looks after come from North Yorkshire, so anyone joining the team knows that they will be giving a local teenager the best possible chance to turn their lives around.
And, as well as huge emotional rewards, fostering with us 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.
A Fostering North Yorkshire accredited carer receives more than £300 each week tax-free for fostering a child aged 11 to 15, equivalent to an annual income of around £16,000. Foster carers who have completed their advanced training and have the skills to support teenagers with some complex and challenging behaviours can expect to receive around £29,000 annually, based on a having a young person in a foster placement for 52 weeks a year.
For more information visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/fostering or call Fostering North Yorkshire on 01609 534654.
To view the new film go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/life-foster-carer