Lancashire County Council is inviting children and young people in foster care, and fostering families, to tell their story and encourage a new generation of adults to sign up as foster carers.
The Inspiring Stories competition forms part of the county council’s support of the regional You Can Foster campaign to recruit new foster carers and ‘Do Something Incredible’.
The creative writing competition has five different entry categories:
Fostered children up to eight years of age
Fostered children nine -12 years of age
Fostered teenagers 13-17 years of age
Fostered young adults 18 – 25 years of age
Birth children in fostering households up to 18 years of age
The stories submitted can be a personal account of being in foster care and can be fiction or non-fiction as well as written accounts. Drawings can be submitted so that all ages of children are able to enter the competition.
They will be judged by a panel of children’s authors and poets including Manchester poet Tony Walsh and children’s authors, Cathy Cassidy, Livi Michael and Dan Worsley.
County Councillor Susie Charles, Lancashire County Council Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools, said: “During September we’ve joined forces with other local authorities in the North West and Yorkshire to launch a recruitment campaign. With around 20 Lancashire children coming into care each week and needing urgent foster care placements, the county council is keen to lend its support to the campaign and attract local people and families to step forward and find out more.
“This competition is a way of reaching out to people through the amazing stories of the inspirational children and young people who are in foster care, and fostering families. We have a real need to recruit more foster carers, and hope that sharing these stories will give people an insight, through the eyes of the children, into the role and inspire people to get in touch.”
Children and young people who want to take part can visit www.youcanfoster.org/competition to find out more and submit their stories. Entries should be no more than 800 words. The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday, 17 November 2017.
The competition is part of the You Can Foster campaign which launched recently.
Lancashire is one of 23 local authorities backing the campaign, but also running its own campaign aimed at recruiting foster carers.
Recruiting our own foster carers is a priority for the council due to the high cost of using independent agencies, and by using our own foster carers we can make some significant savings.
New foster carers can expect to receive between £241 and £415 per week for each child they care for.
People who have considered fostering before but weren’t sure they could afford it are advised to come along to an information evening and find out if it could now be a viable option.
No formal experience or qualifications are needed to be a foster carer, all you need is a spare room available and a desire to make a difference to a local child’s life.
A package of support is available 24/7 to help foster carers in their role, including local support groups, their own social worker, a dedicated helpline and flexible training.
Recruitment priorities for Lancashire and the region include places for:
– Brothers and sisters – including sibling groups of 3 or more children/young people.
– Older children/young people – over half of all looked after children are 10 or older
– Children from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, in particular black or Asian children and increasingly those from new migrant communities
– Long term – where children and young people are not able to live with their own families for a number of years, if at all. Children and young people stay in a family where they feel secure, while maintaining contact with their birth family.
– Children with complex/additional needs including behaviour that challenges.
– Parents and children together – this involves having a child or children with one or more of the parents in your home and supporting them to care for their children. This type of fostering is challenging but rewarding and the enhanced allowances offered to foster carers reflect this.
If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a foster carer, please visit www.youcanfoster.org/lancashire or call the fostering recruitment team on 0300 123 6723