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The Fostering Network carries out surveys with members, studies existing research and consults with stakeholders so that we understand the issues and challenges facing foster care, as well as what is working. We publish and promote reports which help to shape our policy, campaigns and practice work.

The State of the Nation's Foster Care - 2016

The Fostering Network has collated the views of 2,530 foster carers across the UK through our State of the Nation survey, which we conduct every two years. The results are a snapshot of the views of foster carers in 2016. This report highlights the key findings, compares with previous survey results where possible, and makes recommendations for the changes that need to happen to ensure that all fostered children are given the best possible care and helped to fulfil their potential.

Read the key findings

Read the 2014 report

The impact of austerity measures on fostered children and the families that care for them - 2016

Earlier this year the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children (APPGC) launched an inquiry into children’s social care services in England. The Inquiry is looking at a number of areas including the impact of funding cuts on foster carers and looked after children. The Fostering Network felt that it was vital for those who are at the centre of the lives of children in care, foster carers, to have the opportunity to share their views on how funding cuts are impacting on the delivery of foster care. In February 2016 The Fostering Network carried out a UK-wide survey of foster carers on the subject of funding cuts to local authority budgets.
 
We received 732 responses which gave a unique insight into the reality of fostering in the current economic climate. The responses to the survey shaped The Fostering Network’s written submission to the inquiry. We also published a full report detailing the findings of the survey and a separate England-specific summary.
 

National Fostering Framework Wales: Phase one report – 2016

The Welsh Government is exploring the possibility of developing a fostering framework to make fostering services more effective and more sustainable. A consortium which includes ADSS Cymru and The Fostering Network has now completed phase 1 of funding from the Welsh Government, and in turn played a key leadership role in establishing this framework.
 
The overall aim is to ensure that Wales can provide and commission a flexible and affordable mix of high-quality placements and support services that meet the diverse range of children’s needs. This means giving children clearly planned journeys through care which remain focused on care plans, prevent drift, and enable them to be reunited with family and friends where possible or have stable placements, achieve permanency and exit the care system positively.
 

Read the full report in English or Welsh which includes recommendations and messages from the wide consultation programme.

The National Fostering Framework Wales foster care allowances and payments survey 2016-17: A report by The Fostering Network Wales

The Fostering Framework in Wales Phase One report identified the payment of foster care allowances and fees as a key issue. It was recognised that the current pattern across Wales would present particular challenges but that these should not be ignored.

As part of the Phase Two development of the National Fostering Framework, The Fostering Network was commissioned by the strategic advisory group for the National Fostering Framework to undertake a survey of local authorities 2016-17 foster carer payment structures across Wales.

The subsequent report has demonstrated the scale of inequality of financial arrangements for foster carers across Wales, in particular in relation to fees.

Read the report here

The Cost to Foster Carers of Providing Accommodation for Fostering – 2015

Until now there has been little investigation into the costs that foster carers bear in order to provide the extra accommodation space that their fostered children require, or the implication on foster carer recruitment and retention.

This groundbreaking new research by Professor Tunstall at the University of York, commissioned by The Fostering Network, is an important first step in increasing our understanding of the issue, and in helping the fostering sector consider what might be the policy implications affecting matters such as allowances and grants to foster carers, and the allocation of social housing.

Read this report.

What is Needed to Enable Looked After Children to Achieve in Education – 2015

This report was commissioned by the Welsh Government, and explores the views of foster carers in Wales regarding what they believe is needed to raise the ambitions and educational outcomes of the young people in their care. It follows consultations and a survey with foster carers carried out by The Fostering Network.

The report highlights the role of foster carers as first educators for the young people they are caring for, and the desire of foster carers to be increasingly involved in their fostered children’s education.

Read this report in English and in Welsh.

Understanding the Educational Experiences and Opinions, Attainment, Achievement and Aspirations of Looked After Children in Wales – 2015

Commissioned by the Welsh Government, this report by The Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE) explores the experiences and attainment of looked after children in Wales. The research, which included focus groups with looked after children conducted by The Fostering Network, reports issues at each stage of a young person’s educational journey, including those arising from stigma and placement and school instability.

Read the full report or the executive summary.

Why Foster Carers Care, Part I – 2013, Part II – 2015

Understanding what motivates foster carers to come forward is an essential tool in both recruiting and retaining the future foster carer workforce.

To explore the psychology behind foster carers’ motivation, The Fostering Network partnered with consultancy iMPOWER, to use the pyschographic categorisation tool, Values Modes™, in a survey of foster carers to identify any trends in foster carers' intrinsic personalities.

Why Foster Carers Care reports the outcome of the research, funded by the Department for Education, including unprecedented findings in the history of the Values Modes™ theory and its application in helping fostering services recruit and retain foster carers.

The Why Foster Carers Care Part II report follows the research on the motivations and values gained from the first report, again funded by the Department for Education. Foster carers approved from 1 April 2013 were surveyed to test a range of hypotheses and compare their motivations to foster and Values Modes™ with the overall foster carer cohort surveyed in 2013.

Both reports have powerful implications for the recruitment and retention of foster carers across the UK.

Read Part I, and Part II, or find out more about our recruitment and retention work.

Fostering in Wales: Who Cares and Why? – 2013

In 2013 the Welsh Government funded The Fostering Network to research the values of foster carers in Wales to assist fostering services in their recruitment and retention activity.

Fostering in Wales: Who Cares and Why uses Values Modes™ theory, a psychographic profiling tool that identifies an individual’s core values and beliefs.

Read this report. The report is also available in Welsh.

Making Not Breaking – Building Relationships for our Most Vulnerable Children – 2013

The Care Inquiry (England) was a group of eight charities, including The Fostering Network, exploring how best to achieve stability and a positive sense of identity and belonging for children in care and those raised by family members as an alternative to care. The Inquiry examined evidence submitted at three formal sessions, with a report of the findings, Making Not Breaking, published in spring 2013.

Read this report

Fostering, 10 Years On – 2012

To mark its 10th anniversary, The Fostering Network Wales published Fostering: 10 Years On, a report looking at what changed during the decade and the challenges that lie ahead for foster care in Wales.

Read this report in English and in Welsh.

Fostering Higher Education: Success in Wales – 2012

This report presents the findings from discussions with experienced foster carers, carried out by a team from Cardiff Metropolitan University regarding their perceptions of how children in foster care could be encouraged and supported in their academic achievements beyond post compulsory education.

Read the report.

Update to The Cost of Foster Care – 2010

Undertaken by Lisa Holmes and Jean Soper of the Centre for Child and Family Research, Loughborough University, this report is a supplement to The Cost of Foster Care (2005), updating the estimates of the investment needed to provide a properly resourced foster care service throughout the UK.

The calculations of costs and investment needed were revised to take account of new information and changes in monetary values.

Read this report. You can also read the original Cost of Foster Care.

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