A group of children have enjoyed a day out at Lightwater Valley as a thank you for welcoming foster siblings into their homes.
When someone decides to become a foster carer that decision also has an impact on their wider family, in particular on their children, who take an active role in making another young person feel at home.
Fostering North Yorkshire holds a trip to the theme park every year, as thanks for the birth children of foster carers for sharing their home, their toys and their parents with foster children.
The trip is organised as part of a dedicated support group for the youngsters, Fizzy Fostering, which has been running for seven years. It is aimed at children aged from seven to 16 years old. As well as the Lightwater Valley outing, the children also take part in a bowling trip at Christmas.
Fizzy Fostering provides a system of support purely focused on the needs and feelings of the children of the foster family.
The support group aims to:
Promote the welfare of birth children of foster carers by giving individual and group support.
Address any training needs for families.
Enhance coping strategies for foster carers’ birth children and promote understanding of the reasons for children needing foster carers.
Expand the personal support networks for foster family birth children.
Provide a programme of activities, which will be a mix of social and those related to the experiences of foster family birth children.
Provide children with the tools and understanding to express their views about fostering.
Highlight the importance of considering the needs of children who foster and obtaining their opinions and wishes in a more established manner.
When asked what Fizzy Fostering means to them, the children said that it gives them a chance to meet other people whose families were involved in fostering, which is especially useful when they are new to fostering. Two of the children who have just turned 16, wish to remain a part of the group next year as they have found it such a positive experience.
County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services, said:
Many people support the fantastic work that our foster carers do, but it’s vital that we also extend that support to the birth children of families who foster.
These young people also go through the highs and lows of opening their home to a foster child and this group gives them an opportunity to discuss their experiences with others in a similar situation.
Nigel Roberts, Fostering Team Manager said:
The sons and daughters of foster carers play a really important part in welcoming foster children into their homes, and sharing their parents and indeed their lives with fostered children.
It’s important to remember that these children have needs too, and they can come second if we are not careful.
That’s why Fizzy Fostering activities and outings are so important, as they are specially tailored for the birth children of foster families, giving them a break and a chance to have fun and relax together and informally support each other.
Note to editors:
People who are interested in fostering are invited to book a place at one of several information events being held in locations around the county on Thursday 10 September. For more information about becoming a foster carer and to book a place at an information evening go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/fostering or call Fostering North Yorkshire on 01609 534654.
Picture shows: Foster family children swing high on the carousel on their day out to Lightwater Valley.