900 foster families needed in Yorkshire over the next year - here's how to sign up

Karen Wortley who has fostered around 70 young people over 11 years. Karen and Amy by the river in York. Picture by Scott Merrylees.
Karen Wortley who has fostered around 70 young people over 11 years. Karen and Amy by the river in York. Picture by Scott Merrylees.

Yorkshire carers are urged to "make a real difference to a child’s life" and become one of the 910 new foster families needed in the region over the next year.

The Fostering Network calculates annual foster family recruitment targets, taking into account a number of factors including the percentage of the foster carer workforce leaving each year and the change in the numbers of children in care.

This year’s figures show a need for 8,600 new foster families across the UK, and 910 across Yorkshire and the Humber.

Without these extra foster families being found during 2019 – particularly those that could foster teenagers and sibling groups – the charity says that some children will find themselves living a long way from their family, school and friends, being split up from brothers and sisters, or being placed with a foster carer who might not have the relevant skills and experience to meet their specific needs.

The charity's call for more foster families comes at the start of its annual Foster Care Fortnight campaign (May 13-26) which has the theme of #changeafuture, highlighting the positive impact foster care can have on children’s futures and encouraging more people to come forward to foster.

Paul and Michael Atwal-Brice, foster carers from Rotherham, said: "The best thing about fostering is seeing the children trusted in your care develop and grow; to see them become more confident.

"We are currently fostering teenagers long term and, although this can be tricky at times, it is great to teach them the skills they need to live a successful and happy life as adults.

"There are thousands of children out there who need warm and loving homes and we would definitely recommend fostering to others. You meet so many different people and it really extends your family."

During the Foster Care Fornight in 2017, The Yorkshire Post reported how York woman Karen Wortley fostered around 70 young people over 11 years.
The latest campaign is supported by Kiss FM presenter and DJ Pandora Christie who was brought up by foster carers.

Pandora said: "It’s really key to have a secure family unit around you that loves you and helps you navigate and understand yourself and the world around you.

"That is why foster carers are so important to children who, like me, haven’t had the best start in life. Fostering changed my life and by becoming a foster carer you could change a future."

Kevin Williams, chief executive of The Fostering Network, said: ‘Fostering is life-changing for both the child or young person being fostered and for the family that cares for them.

"Foster carers do something amazing on behalf of our society – making a real difference to a child’s life.

"Across the UK a child comes into care in need of a foster family every 20 minutes. On any given day in Yorkshire and the Humber there are around 8,000 children in care, the vast majority of whom are living foster families who are working tirelessly to ensure that these children and young people experience the stability and security of a nurturing, loving home.

"Along with fostering services around the UK, we are calling on people who think they have the right skills and experience to change a fostered child’s future, to find out more about fostering this Foster Care Fortnight."

Anyone interested in fostering can visit thefosteringnetwork.org.uk to find out more, or they can follow the Foster Care Fortnight campaign using #changeafuture.