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4.3.1 Publicity and Recruitment of Foster Carers


  1. Foster Carer Recruitment Policy
  2. Recruitment Procedure

1. Foster Carer Recruitment Policy

  1. The policy in respect of the recruitment of foster carers is as follows:
    1. In order that the authority has a choice of placements and an appropriate range of foster carers to meet the assessed needs of children and young people in their areas, the local authority will constantly and actively carry out recruitment of foster carers.

      The range of carers will therefore be sufficiently diverse to meet cultural, linguistic and religious needs of each child, as well as any needs relating to disability, gender or sexuality.
    2. Recruitment must be done in a formal recorded manner.
    3. Each prospective foster carer will be provided with comprehensive information on the nature of the fostering task and the authority's job or task profile/specifications for foster carers.
    4. Each enquiry from a prospective foster carer is responded to within two working days; response times are monitored to ensure prospective carers are not lost through failure to respond promptly.
    5. The authority's recruitment strategy is reviewed annually, all recruitment methods are monitored and their effectiveness evaluated to inform reviews of the recruitment strategy.
    6. The maximisation of foster carers will be supported and optimised through policies, procedures and standards.
    7. Exit interviews will be conducted with each carer who decides to cease fostering and data collected and analysed to inform recruitment and retention strategies. These exit interviews will be carried out by the carer's fostering social worker unless there is a reason for this not to happen.
    The policy in respect of publicity to recruit foster carers for individual children is as follows:
    1. The safeguarding and promotion of the child's welfare will be the paramount consideration when publicity is used to recruit foster carers for individual children.
    2. The wishes and feelings of the child (subject to age and understanding) will be properly considered in any plans to use publicity as a means of finding a family placement for a child.
    3. Consideration should be given to the use of photographs of the child and for the child's first name in situations where it is agreed that their use be likely to promote the welfare of the child, and where the child his/her consent to such as (subject to age and understanding).
    4. The wishes and feeling of the parents or other person with Parental Responsibility will be considered in any plans to use publicity as a means of finding a family placement for a child.
    5. Publicity should always take into account the child's social, cultural religious and linguistic needs and any needs arising from any disability that the child may have.
  2. The aim of the recruitment stage is to inform potential applicants of the nature of the task and the qualities carers need to possess. Recruiters need to ensure that carers are aware of the support and help given to develop their skills. An element of self-selection by prospective carers should be encouraged. Prospective carers must also be made aware of the assessment process.
  3. There should be a clear distinction between the recruitment and assessment stages Recruitment is concerned with the active encouragement of appropriate applications. Assessment is about the objective appraisal of applicants.

Recruitment Methods

  1. The methods of recruitment will vary according to the outcome of objectives, reviews, local choice and need, but are likely to include the following elements:
    1. Both an advertising component and an information-providing role.
    2. General publicity and information giving to raise awareness and understanding in the community of fostering and the needs of children.
    3. Recruitment campaigns for foster carers generally, for specialised schemes or to seek a placement for a specific child.
    4. Established foster carers and local groups of carers can be valuable assets in publicising fostering and the recruitment of other foster carers.
  2. Publicity and recruitment campaigns should aim to reach all groups in the community. Applications are considered from people regardless of their cultural background, marital status, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientated, disability or age. Particular attention should be given where there is an identified cultural group. Schedule 2 paragraph 11 of the Children Act 1989 requires that the publicising and recruitment for fostering have regard to the different ethnic groups to which children in need in the area belong.
  3. Publicity and recruitment is the responsibility of the Fostering Service. Recruitment will reflect the needs and demands of children and young people who are looked after.
  4. Consideration should be given to cooperation and coordination in joint publicity with other local authorities and voluntary organisations.
  5. General recruitment campaigns may result in the identifications of foster carers suited to care for a child with particular needs. It may, however the necessary to target recruitment by advertising in specialist magazines.

2. Recruitment Procedure

Caption: Recruitment Procedure


General Recruitment


A decision is made by the Fostering Service Manager to commence a campaign for general recruitment.  Details need to be specified on the available budget, the involvement of carers and the required targeting to assist effectiveness.

The methods used in the campaign may include:

  • Leaflets designed to give initial information obtained from a variety of locations in the community.
  • Advertisements in newspapers.
  • Publicity on local transport.
  • Poster campaigns.
  • Publicity on local radio or television
  • The Internet (NB great care must be taken and only a general advertisement is allowed. Details of individual children should not be placed on the Internet).
  • Word of mouth, particularly by existing foster carers.
  • Foster carers holding local information evenings
  • Linking with community groups
  • Stalls at community events.
  • Targeting particular groups by direct mail-shots.
  • Having a specific foster care recruitment officer.
  • Engaging external experts on recruitment.

Emphasis must be placed on the provision of detailed information that involves interaction, thus allowing greater information to be conveyed.

  2. The campaign should be planned and account should be taken of the response to enquirers e.g. the availability of staff to respond to enquirers.
  3. Publicity relating to the recruitment of foster carers must conform to the East Riding of Yorkshire requirements of publicity.
  4. Enquirers should be given a positive and welcoming response, and treated fairly and courteously. Information will be sent out to enquirers within 2 working days.
  5. Details must be recorded of all those who enquire about fostering.
  6. For next steps see the procedures on 'Assessment and Approval of Foster Carers'.


Recruitment of Foster Carers for Individual Children Using Specific Advertising

  1. When it is felt that publicising would be an appropriate way of increasing the possibility of finding a foster carer for a particular child, a Linkworker will be appointed from the Fostering Service to assist the family finding (see also Link Working and Family Finding Procedure) and a meeting will be held between the Linkworker and the social worker in order to formulate a plan for recruitment.
  2. The Linkworker will then send a letter to the child's social worker requesting agreement of the use of details of the child for publicity purposes, from the child and person(s) with Parental Responsibility. The relevant forms should accompany the letter, in order to obtain written agreement.
  3. Where the child is accommodated, the written agreement of the parent or anyone else with Parental Responsibility will always be required before publicity materials can be used.
  4. Where Parental Responsibility is shared with the local authority, the agreement of the child's parents/other persons with Parental Responsibility should be obtained.
  5. If the child, parent or person with parental responsibility does not agree with the plan further discussion is advised with the legal services.
  6. The agreement of the Fostering Service Manager will also be required. If the parent/other person with Parental Responsibility does not agree and the Fostering Service Manager considers it would be in the child's best interests to use publicity to recruit foster carers, the agreement of the District Manager will be required using the same form.
  7. The completed forms should be returned to the Fostering Service Manager. Copies should be held on the child's file. The Fostering Service Manager will then arrange for a social worker from the Fostering Service to visit the child with the social worker, to further discuss the publicity plans.
  8. The Fostering Service should ensure that any publicity to be used has taken into account the child's racial, cultural, religious and linguistic needs and that any needs from any disability have been addressed.
  9. The child or young person should, where age appropriate, play an active part in deciding the content of the advert and publicity material. The final draft must be agreed by the child, parent/other person(s) with parental responsibility, Designated Social Worker, District Manager, Linkworker and the Fostering Service Manager. The publicity must also conform to East Riding of Yorkshire requirements of publicity.
  10. The costs of any publicity must be coded to the Marketing and Recruitment Budget.
  11. Prior to the advert/publicity materials being used, the Linkworker should complete the appropriate checklist to ensure that procedures have been followed.