Foster Care Fortnight – a national event aimed at raising awareness of the urgent need for more foster carers – begins next Monday (May 14).
In the UK a child goes into care every 22 minutes, and last year in North Yorkshire 307 children needed to be looked after by a foster carer.
Fostering is a way of providing a safe and caring temporary home for children of all ages who for whatever reason can’t live with their own families. Many children who need foster carers have been neglected or abused and some have physical or learning disabilities. Others have brothers or sisters who they don’t want to be separated from, but what they all have in common is the need to feel safe, secure and happy.
Fostering North Yorkshire urgently need an additional 60 foster carers to look after local children, particularly in areas with an acute shortage of carers including Harrogate, Northallerton, Scarborough and Selby.
This shortage sometimes results in the council having to find temporary carers from outside the county, which for these children usually means having to change schools and move away from family and friends. In addition, an out-of-county placement costs twice as much as placing children with local carers.
County Councillor Carl Les, Executive Member for the Children’s and Young People’s Service said:
Being a foster carer takes time, energy and understanding, but it can be immensely rewarding,
There are many day-to-day moments that can help change a child’s life, like the moment when the child in your care smiles for the first time, trusts you enough to hold your hand or learns a new skill like tying their shoelaces.
That’s when you know that through your support and care you’re making a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children.
The County Council would like hear from local people who can provide the best possible care for vulnerable children.
Foster carer Jacqui Agar said:
Fostering is the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life besides bringing up my own son. When I see them again and how well they are doing, it’s lovely to see how they have grown and settled and to know that I’ve been a part of that.
To support foster carers the County Council offers ongoing help, advice and training, as well as an allowance ranging from £134.51 to £313.75 a week to cover the cost of looking after a child.
People who are interested in becoming a foster carer can find out about the next information evening near them by calling Fostering North Yorkshire on 0800 054 6989.
For more information about being a foster carer go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/fostering