Fostering Friendly

Fostering Friendly is The Fostering Network's programme to encourage employers to support fostering, and in particular, foster carers.

About Fostering Friendly 

Our Fostering Friendly employers scheme offers businesses of any size a chance to make a difference for foster carers and the children they care for in their local communities and improve support for their own employees at the same time.

Nearly 40 per cent of foster carers combine fostering with other work. Those who do say that a supportive employer can make all the difference, enabling them to balance employment with looking after children. You can read more in our report Combining Fostering and Other Work.

The Fostering Network’s Fostering Friendly employers’ scheme helps employers to support and recognise the roles of their employees who foster and involves no direct costs. Members of the scheme agree to put in place a fostering friendly HR policy for all foster carers in their employment (regardless of their fostering service). This includes offering foster carers flexible working and paid time off for training and settling a new child into their home.

Fostering Friendly employers also help promote Foster Care Fortnight™, our annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering and encourage people to consider becoming foster carers and offer children the care they need.Foster carer of a Fostering Friendly employer quote

Support for employers

Our Fostering Friendly team give employers all the advice and support they need to join the scheme. The Fostering Network is a Fostering Friendly employer and we can share a template HR policy. Get in touch with to find out more. Foster carer of a Fostering Friendly employer quote

Benefits for employers

  • Once you are approved, you can display your Fostering Friendly logo with pride
  • We publish a list of Fostering Friendly employers and will help promote and celebrate your new status
  • Fostering Friendly employers can improve support for staff, making workplaces friendlier for foster carers, benefiting the children in their care and also making it easier for people to consider fostering
  • You will share in the celebration of foster care and the vital role it has in transforming children’s lives.

Every year we present a Fostering Friendly employer with a prestigious Fostering Excellence Award. Some of our previous winners are listed below.


How do we become Fostering Friendly?

Get in touch with us and we can send you our draft policy.

Adapt the policy for your needs. Send us back your policy.

We can arrange a call with you or answer any questions you have.

We can then approve you (or provide comments to help you get approved) add you to our list of Fostering Friendly Employers and celebrate your new status on our social media channels.


Is there a cost?

No the scheme is free to join.


How long does it take to become Fostering Friendly?

Getting internal agreement and sign off for a new HR policy can take time. Depending on the size of your organisation, it could be a few months, but remember we are here to assist at any stage and are happy to talk to any stakeholders in your organisation.

Once you have a draft policy document, you can send it to us and we should be able to approve it within a week.


Can we write our own policy?

Yes you can. We have a draft policy, which we can send you – to save you time. Some organisations incorporate this into existing policy documents.


Will this impact our business?

Many businesses have adapted and become more flexible in recent years.

Around 1 in 890 employees in the UK is also a foster carer. This may help you to estimate what the take up may be.

Supporting staff helps to build morale.

This could help with staff retention and with the cost of living.

You can use our Fostering Friendly logo on your website and on social media.

Joining the scheme shows strong corporate social responsibility - a responsible company with a long term commitment in the area.


How do we support Foster Care Fortnight?

We will send you materials that you can share on social media. This helps to recognise the important role of foster carers in our society and to encourage others to consider fostering.

You could consider holding an event to raise awareness about fostering.

Case Studies

From some of our existing Fostering Friendly Employers:


"We recognised that the impact for us as a company is relatively small, but the impact for any potential child being fostered could be significant."

Karin O'Connell, Deputy Head of People Success, Synetics and Port Vale.

“We recognise and value the enormous contribution that foster carers make to the lives of children in care. We also understand the need for flexibility at work to meet the needs of foster children, which is why we are committed to supporting colleagues who are foster carers.”

Professor Martin Jones, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Staffordshire University.

“We became a Fostering Friendly employer because we wanted to strengthen our family-friendly policies to include foster carers who provide a really important service to their communities.

Ian Gleave, Executive Director of Organisational Development, Aspire Housing.


Fostering Friendly employers


Achieving For Children

Alton Towers Resort


Aspire Housing

Antea UK


Awen Cultural Trust


Barca Leeds

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Bath & North East Somerset Council



Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Blue Cross

Boulder Shack Climbing Gym

Brent Council

Bridgend County Borough Council

Brighter Futures for Children

Brighton & Hove City Council 

Brightsparks Agency 

Bristol City Council (2018 Award winner)

Buckinghamshire Council

Burford School

Bury Council

Calderdale Council

Cheshire East Council

Children's Hearings Scotland


Cosy Direct

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

City of Bristol College

City of Lincoln Council

City of Stoke-on-Trent Council

Chartered College of Teaching

Cheeky Baby Products

Cheshire West and Chester Council

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP

Coventry City Council


Davies Group

De Montford Students' Union

Department for Education

Derby City Council

Derby County Community Trust

Derbyshire Police 

Devon County Council 

Diocese of Truro

Edens Care

East Suffolk Council

East Sussex County Council

Emerald Publishing Limited


Essex County Council

Everyone Health

Fair Ways

Falkirk Council

Fantom Factory

Five Rivers Child Care Ltd

Flintshire County Council (2017 Award winner)

Foster Careline


Gedling Borough Council

Gloucestershire County Council

Hargreaves Lansdown

HCRG Care Group

Herefordshire Council

Hertfordshire County Council

Home Office

Huddersfield Town AFC and The Huddersfield Town Foundation

Hull City Council

Humberside Police

Jackson Fire and Security UK Ltd

J G Fenn Ltd

John Lewis Partnership

John Mason

Kirklees Council

KLA, SPTS division


Leeds City Council

Leicestershire County Council

Lidl Ireland

Lighthouse London

LiKa Family Fostering

Liverpool City Council

Llandysul Royal Mail Sorting Office (2015 Award winner)

London Borough of Barnet

London Borough of Camden

London Borough of Redbridge

London Borough of Southwark (2019 Award winner)

London Borough of Waltham Forest

Manchester City Council

Metro Bank

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Money Advice Trust

MTS Cleaning services (2015 Award winner)

National Fostering Group


Neath Port Talbot Council

Norfolk County Council

Northamptonshire Children's Trust

North Ayrshire Council

North East Lincolnshire Council

North East & North Cumbria Integrated Care Board

North Lincolnshire Council 

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust

North Tyneside Council

North Somerset Council

Northumberland County Council

Nottingham City Council

Nottinghamshire County Council


Outcomes First Group

Oxfordshire County Council


Plymouth City Council

Port Vale Football Club

Principality Building Society

Progress Care


Quality Foster Care


Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

RSD Recruitment

Safehouses Fostering

Salford City Council

Sandwell Children's Trust

Sandwell Council



Sheffield City Council

Shop Direct (2015 Award winner)

Smiths News

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Somerset Council

Southampton City Council

South Gloucestershire Council

Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Integrated Care Board

Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Staffordshire Police

Staffordshire County Council

Staffordshire University


Stateside Foods

Stoke City Football Club and Stoke City Community Trust

Stoke-on-Trent College 

Stone Group

Stockport Council

Suffolk County Council

Suffolk Libraries

Surrey County Council (2016 Award winner)

Swansea Council

Swindon Borough Council

Synectics Solutions


Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

Telford & Wrekin Council

The Children's Families Trust

The Fostering Company North East

The Fostering Network

The Mortgage Brain

The Why Not Trust

Together for Change Sunderland 

Torbay Council 


University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust

University of Hull

University of Liverpool

Wakefield Council

Walsall Council 

Warwickshire County Council

Welsh Government

West Berkshire Council

West Suffolk Council

West Sussex County Council

Wigan Council

Wiltshire Council


What else can we do?
Once you have been approved by us, we will add you to our list. We would love you to share your new status as a Fostering Friendly Employer (and tag us) on social media, using #fosteringfriendly
Send a press release out to share this positive story. We have a template you can use. This helps us to spread the word and encourage others to join.
You can also help by ‘buddying’ others that are considering becoming a Fostering Friendly Employer. We would match you with an organisation similar to yourselves (eg NHS to NHS, university to university) and you may be able to help overcome any barriers along the way.

Celebrate fostering. This could be by holding an event (online or in person). We can help you with this.

Join our annual Foster walk. Or take on a challenge on behalf of The Fostering Network.

Support us on social media.