Attracting and Keeping Carers - May 2014

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What a start to this year’s Foster Care Fortnight. I’m thrilled to see so many of you using this year’s guess who fosters theme out and about, in the media and online.

Foster Care Fortnight special

Of those I’ve seen so far, special mention has to go to Warrington for this fantastic guess who fosters webpage. Congratulations to Jenny and the team for creating a visually great and content rich site. Thank you also to Michaela, Chido and Flo at Banya for sending through their pic of them with their guess who fosters banner. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve launched our guess who fosters game, a fun way to find out more about who fosters and those connected to fostering. There are a few obvious ones in there but do have a go and see if you can spot all eight first time!

Fostering misconceptions remain

This year’s news story centres on the findings from our recent You Gov poll. The headline story is that less than a third of the UK adult population (28 per cent) think they would be likely to be accepted as foster carers were they to apply within the next two years.

A number of groups including single people, those without children, under 25s and over 55s were even less optimistic about the likelihood of being accepted.

On a brighter note, 73 per cent of the population felt positive about foster carers and the work that they do and a quarter would consider fostering either now or in the future.

Foster Care Fortnight is a great opportunity to harness this interest and encourage new people to come forward, highlighting the skills and qualities your fostering service is looking for.

Our Twitter and Facebook accounts are also buzzing with #FCF2014 and #guesswhofosters posts so do join in the conversation.

The full UK press release is included in this month’s IN FOCUS below. Country and England regional releases are available by emailing media@fostering.net

Northern Ireland launch Foster Care Fortnight in the north west 

The Fostering Network Northern Ireland launched this year’s Foster Care Fortnight campaign in Derry for the first time on Monday 12 May.
The launch, in partnership with the Regional Fostering and Adoption Service and the Western Health and Social Care Trust, featured information stalls and some much needed pampering for hard working foster carers!

The Fostering Network Northern Ireland’s director, Margaret Kelly, said,

Foster Care Fortnight is about celebrating those people who have already come forward to foster and encouraging others to come forward too.

Foster carers are indeed the stars of this year’s campaign, be sure to include and involve them in this and other recruitment campaigns.

Guess who fosters with 5Fostering 

Excellent application of this year’s guess who fosters theme by Harry and the 5Fostering team on their stand in New Haven!

Good to see the team busting some of the perceived barriers to fostering, particularly ‘I was not born in the UK’. 

I’d be interested to hear if you’ve spoken to people who don’t think they foster because they live, or have lived, abroad.

Elevenses

This year’s guess who fosters theme is a chance to bust some myths and show the diversity of people who come forward to foster. 

Bedford Borough’s case study caught my eye as their lead councillor for children’s social care used to foster, providing an insightful and interesting account of her experiences.

Featuring Sue’s experiences has allowed the service to address some key areas: their experience as teachers helped make them good candidates; they fostered even though they had a young child; the skills needed such as resilience; plus focusing on the need for more foster carers for teenagers to come forward. I did smile at the thought of the fostered children washing up being the highlight, but I’m sure it was more the family occasion that created the happy memories.

Overall, a nice case study and I’m looking forward to seeing more from all fostering services throughout the fortnight.

Somerset to pay their foster carers

A non-Foster Care Fortnight story comes from Somerset with the news they are to pay their foster carers a fee on top of their allowance.

The fees, starting at £50 up to £200 a week, will be paid to foster carers with children in placement. It is a shame the local councillors could not extend this to foster carers without a placement, but in the ever tough financial climate, this is a positive step by the council.

The payment landscape is mixed across the UK, but Somerset’s decision is good timing to encourage more people to come forward during Foster Care Fortnight.

IN FOCUS

Poll shows fostering misconceptions remain, as campaign begins

Less than a third of the UK adult population (28 per cent) think they would be likely to be accepted as foster carers were they to apply within the next two years, according to the results of a new poll published today by the Fostering Network.

The YouGov poll of 4,818 adults, published to coincide with the start of Foster Care Fortnight 2014, found that a number of groups, including single people, those with no children, under 25s and over 55s were even less optimistic about the likelihood of being accepted to foster.

The survey also found that 73 per cent of the population felt positive about foster carers and the work that they do, while almost one quarter (24 per cent) said they would consider fostering either now or in the future.

Commenting on the findings, chief executive of the Fostering Network Robert Tapsfield, said:

While it’s fantastic news that people feel so positively about fostering, we are worried that some may rule themselves out without knowing the facts on what it takes to be a good foster carer.

It doesn’t matter if you are single or living as a couple, how old you are, or whether you have children, a job or own your own house. What matters is that you have the skills and experience to look after children separated from their own families, who have often been abused or neglected.

Fostering is a challenging but rewarding job. We need more people to come forward and say yes to fostering and to making a real difference to the lives of the 63,000 fostered children across the UK.

Robert Tapsfield, chief executive of The Fostering Network

 

There are currently 52,500 foster families looking after 63,000 children across the UK every day. The Fostering Network estimates that a further 8,600 families are needed this year alone, particularly to look after teenagers and children with disabilities, as well as providing homes to groups of brothers and sisters.

Unless the right foster carers can be found, children too often have to live a long way from family, friends and school, are moved from home to home, and are split up from their brothers and sisters. Finding the right foster carer can lead to stability and a positive experience of childhood.
Foster Care Fortnight (12-25 May) is the Fostering Network's annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and encourage more people to consider becoming foster carers. This year the theme of "guess who fosters" aims to smash stereotypes and highlight the skills and qualities needed to become a foster carer. Play our online game to see if you can guess who fosters.

PS

Please don’t forget to complete the enquiry tracking tool to keep track of enquirers during Foster Care Fortnight to help with our evaluation of the campaign. Please do contact me at james.foyle@fostering.net for more information.