Join Fostering North Yorkshire and transform lives

Find out more about Foster Care Fortnight and fostering children and young people.

North Yorkshire foster carer at Foster Care Fortnight event.

"I never let our foster children feel left out when I have my friends over. Everyone just gets along. And when they go it can be really sad, but we often stay friends and keep in touch.''

That is the message from Liana in the run up this year's Foster Care Fortnight, which starts on 8 May. Liana has just turned nine and she plays an important part in the lives of the children and young people her parents Alison and Tom care for with Fostering North Yorkshire.

She wanted to tell her story as the child of carers to reassure people who may be considering fostering. Foster Care Fortnight is a national campaign promoted by the Fostering Network to raise awareness of the need for more carers.

This year, the campaign takes the theme "Foster care transforms lives'' and its aim is to encourage people who have been thinking about fostering to step forward and provide a home for a vulnerable young person.

The campaign is being supported by Fostering North Yorkshire, a part of the County Council with an impressive record of placing local children and young people in care with foster families.

More than 300 children are looked after by the county's foster carers every year. The County Council is seeking to recruit a number of new carers in 2017. This includes needing people interested in full-time care and also those able to offer overnight short breaks for disabled children with additional or complex needs.

Pete Dwyer, the County Council's corporate director for children and young people's services, said: "Foster caring is a challenging yet immensely rewarding experience and carers such as Liana's mother Alison often describe it as the best thing they've ever done.

"Our 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.

"People often think they can't foster because they are single, 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.  By becoming a foster carer, people have the opportunity to change a young person's life for good. How satisfying would that be?"

Fostering 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, equivalent to £15,785 per annum (example is based on a 52-week placement).

Alison and Liana's story

"When we first talked to Liana about the possibility of us fostering, she was a little bit nervous - quite understandably," said Alison.

"But once we had our first child to stay, she quickly learned that fostering was a great way for her to make friends and learn lots of new things. She really takes the lead now when we know we've got a new child coming to stay - she helps to tidy the room and make the bed. She also makes welcome banners for the door and provides a mini-tour of the house and garden!''

Liana said: "Sometimes, if someone comes to stay and they have lots of difficulties, it can be harder at the start, but I work to make sure we become friends and then when we argue, it's friendly just like brothers and sisters arguing. Before mum and dad started fostering I was a bit lonely as I'm an only child, but I'm never lonely now."

Alison added: "When a foster child is ready to move on, Liana always makes a card and we all sit down to a special goodbye meal with them. We love our roles as foster carers and want to keep on making a difference for the young people we look after. And we're so proud of the fact that Liana really wants to foster too when she's old enough - and she's set her heart on being North Yorkshire's youngest ever foster carer!''

For more information about becoming a foster carer with Fostering North Yorkshire, visit our website or call Fostering North Yorkshire on 01609 534654.

This story was published 26 April 2017