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.
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 email@example.com to find out more.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
Bath & North East Somerset Council
Boulder Shack Climbing Gym
Bridgend County Borough Council
Brighter Futures for Children
Brighton & Hove City Council
Bristol City Council (2018 Award winner)
City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
City of Bristol College
City of Stoke-on-Trent Council
Chartered College of Teaching
Cheeky Baby Products
Cheshire West and Chester Council
Coventry City Council
De Montford Students' Union
Department for Education
Derby City Council
Derby County Community Trust
Devon County Council
Diocese of Truro
East Suffolk Council
East Sussex County Council
Emerald Publishing Limited
Essex County Council
Five Rivers Child Care Ltd
Flintshire County Council (2017 Award winner)
Gedling Borough Council
Gloucestershire County Council
HCRG Care Group
Hertfordshire County Council
Huddersfield Town AFC and The Huddersfield Town Foundation
Hull City Council
J G Fenn Ltd
John Lewis Partnership
KLA, SPTS division
Leeds City Council
Leicestershire County Council
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
Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Money Advice Trust
MTS Cleaning services (2015 Award winner)
National Fostering Group
Neath Port Talbot Council
Northamptonshire Children's Trust
North Ayrshire 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
Quality Foster Care
Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
Sheffield City Council
Shop Direct (2015 Award winner)
Solihull Metropolitan Borough 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 County Council
Stoke City Football Club and Stoke City Community Trust
Suffolk County Council
Surrey County Council (2016 Award winner)
Swindon Borough Council
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
University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust
University of Hull
University of Liverpool
Warwickshire County Council
West Berkshire Council
West Suffolk Council
West Sussex County 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.