Ensuring there are sufficient numbers of skilled and knowledgeable foster carers is one of the biggest challenges currently facing the fostering sector. This research explores what works to retain foster carers – ultimately so we are able to meet all the needs of children in care, both now and in the future. It also sought to develop a better understanding of the recruitment foster carers in England.
recruitment and retention
The Foster Carer Retention Project aimed to support fostering services to:
- capture all of the reasons why foster carers leave their fostering service
- identify the optimum timings for processing exit interviews
- identify any themes as to the reasons why foster carers choose to leave
- create a robust process for future exit interviews
embed learning to enhance retention and subsequent recruitment of foster carers.
Needs analysis template
Created by the Department for Education and The Fostering Network, the needs analysis template is the starting point for all fostering services to inform a recruitment and retention strategy.
Recruitment is a year-round activity and fostering services need to recruit to replace foster carers who are leaving the service for many different reasons.
Foster care provides children with a safe, secure and nurturing family environment, and allows them to keep in contact with their own families if they wish and if it is in their best interests.
With record numbers of children in care and around 12 per cent of the foster carer workforce retiring or leaving every year, The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services across the UK need to recruit at least a further 7,200 foster families in the next 12 months alone. There is a particular need for foster carers to look after teenagers and sibling groups.