Attracting and Keeping Carers - May 2014 part II

There seems to be no let-up in the pace of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight activity, typified by the excellent work you’re doing in your local communities. Our media monitoring systems are reporting over 700 pieces of coverage across the UK. Many of you have been in touch telling me of activities still to come, so we may hit and surpass the magical 1,000 mark!

This second part of May’s Attracting and Keeping Carers, Foster Care Fortnight special is a look at some of your campaign activities and what the Fostering Network has been up to.

Glasgow City Council foster carers 2014Will I be staying here for all my birthdays?

Glasgow City Council launched a new appeal at the start of Foster Care Fortnight with the aim to recruit new foster carers for permanence.

The campaign, with the strapline ‘Will I be staying here for all my birthdays?’, began with a conference for the Council’s 68 new foster carers, the biggest rise in approved foster carers in a single year.

Foster carer Elaine, a former banker, spoke at the conference about her experiences including a heart-warming story of when her foster daughter asked if her husband would walk her down the aisle. Clearly an incredible moment for any foster carer and testament to the difference they’ve made.

Glasgow Council launched an award winning recruitment drive in 2005 and now has over 550 fostering families to call upon.

All I’ve known

Ealing Council secured free tickets for their foster carers to attend the Chickenshed production of All I’ve Known on Friday 23 May.

The Chickenshed team are no strangers to Foster Care Fortnight, getting in the frame as part of last year’s campaign.

The play is a, “A sensitively and compassionately told story of a now grown-up son who returns to the foster family he left suddenly many years ago.”

As Glasgow and others have done, Foster Care Fortnight is an opportunity to thank and involve current foster carers as part of your retention efforts and this shared experience on the topic of fostering will I’m sure spark a number of fostering conversations.

Swiis Foster CareCredit Swiis for the tweet

Congratulations to the team at Swiis Foster Care who have sustained their Twitter presence throughout Foster Care Fortnight!

The team are tweeting some fantastic content, from fostering facts to inspiring case studies and quotes.

Swiis have really used the fortnight as an opportunity to celebrate fostering and raise their profile to inspire more people to come forward.

Guess who fosters selfies

You may have seen some of our guess who fosters ‘selfies’ on our Facebook page over the fortnight. It’s proven a great success; Alison and Vicki’s post in particular received over 40 comments from people keen to join in.

Learning on the job is a key component of understanding how social media works for your audience so on the subsequent post I included the question, ‘what do you think are some of the skills and qualities needed to foster?’. Again we received a good response and encouraged our followers to give their opinions.

Of course, Foster Care Fortnight provides an opportunity to ramp up the social media activity to a pace which may not be sustainable for the rest of the year. But do use these channels to be social, convey a personality and warmth that will make people want to communicate with you.

Father’s Day video with the Home for Good campaign

Foster Care Fortnight falls just shy of Father’s Day, but the Home for Good campaign has used the fortnight as an opportunity to launch a new call for men to consider fostering.

Our recent YouGov poll revealed just 21 per cent of men think they would be approved to foster if they applied, compared to 27 per cent of women.

The video, Father's Day 2014: You know what a foster carer looks like, don't you? features inspiring clips from a range of male foster carers with other professions including a high court judge, a school teacher and even a fusion scientist!

Displaying the diversity of fostering is a big part of this year’s theme and this is a good soundbite of the rich mix of people who come forward to foster.

Essex assault course 2014Full assault on fostering in Essex

The challenge of fostering versus the challenge of an army assault course in a nuclear bunker is no longer just a metaphor thanks to Corrie Castleman and the team at Essex Council.

Having already taken on an abseil, team manager Elise Lazell rolled up her sleeves to rub shoulders with foster carers and star of Eastenders and Coronation Street, Michelle Collins, to take on the course and/or show their support.

Clearly this isn’t for everyone but it is a fun way for foster carers and fostering staff to bond over a shared challenge.

I’ve seen and received numerous examples of your activities throughout Foster Care Fortnight and I will hopefully be able to post more next month. But in the meantime, please do keep sending them through and congratulations for every stand, information session, drop-in event, assault course and everything in-between that you’ve co-ordinated this year, it’s been a joy to witness.

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