This story was published 18 September 2017

An inspirational creative writing competition designed to encourage children and young people who’ve experienced foster care - and fostering families - to tell their stories is being supported by Fostering North Yorkshire (FNY).

Stories submitted can be a personal account of a fostering experience

FNY is part of the County Council and has an impressive record of placing local children and young people in care with local foster families. More than 300 children are looked after by the county’s foster carers every year. FNY is also a member of You Can Foster, the regional foster carer recruitment organisation behind the competition.

“We’re delighted to be involved in this competition,” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services.

“As well as wanting to share the inspirational experiences of some of the young people we look after - and those of their dedicated foster carers - we are supporting the competition as part of our drive to encourage a new generation of adults to sign up as foster carers.’’

Called Inspiring Stories, the competition’s aim is to encourage children and young people who are in foster care across the North of England to share their experiences and ambitions.

Stories submitted can be a personal account of a fostering experience or an inspirational tale that needs to be told. Entries can be fiction, non-fiction, written or even drawn so that all ages can engage with the competition.

The entries, across five age categories, will be judged by a prestigious panel of children’s authors and poets including screenwriter and novelist Frank Cottrell Boyce, poet Tony Walsh and children’s authors Cathy Cassidy, Livi Michael and Dan Worsley.

Children and young people with first-hand experience of foster care and families who have fostered can visit www.youcanfoster.org/competition to find out more and submit their stories. The entries should be no longer than 800 words and deadline is 5pm on Friday, 17 November.

“We know that the stories will reveal the real sense of value and motivation that foster carers can instill in the young and the profound way in which they can help shape young lives for the better,” added Cllr Sanderson.

“There’s no age restriction about being a foster carer – if you’ve got the qualities we are looking for – like staying power, understanding and empathy - age really doesn’t matter. We‘re hoping that getting involved in this competition will inspire young people to think about a future career as a foster carer to provide local children, teenagers and young adults with a supportive home where they can achieve their dreams and ambitions.

“We always have a real need for more foster carers and we urge anyone, of any age, who is interested to get in touch with us. The young people we are looking after come from North Yorkshire, so anyone joining the FNY team knows that they will be giving a local child or young person 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 £15,785 per annum (the example is based on a 52-week placement). For more information visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/fostering or call Fostering North Yorkshire on 01609 534654.