Fosterline Annual Report
This document contains the information reporting on the delivery of Fosterline by FosterTalk on behalf of the department for Education and aims to capture the impact that Fosterline has had upon enquirers to the service.
The Fosterline Annual Report takes into account information received from both prospective and current foster carers and the information reviewed takes into account the following:
- Measurement against agreed KPI’s
- Call statistics
- Information recorded on database
- Demographics supplied by enquirers
- Analysis of issues identified by enquirers
- Analysis of the visitors to the website www.fosterline.info
- Service user feedback via web-forms
- Survey of prospective foster carers who contacted Fosterline
- Survey of current foster carers (both local authority and independent agency carers in all aspects of foster care including kinship etc.)
In producing this report FosterTalk has sought to establish the effect Fosterline has on encouraging prospective foster carers to complete the assessment and approval process, and to analyse the issues raised by current foster carers in order to inform and influence policy in the future.
Report Period (Year 3) July 2015 to June 2016
“Every year there is a reported shortage of foster carers needed to support the number of children entering the care system. Figures vary but with approximately three quarters of the children and young people in care being placed with foster carers, we still need more foster carers to look after specific groups of children such as teenagers, children from ethnic minority groups, sibling groups and unaccompanied asylum seeking young people.
Fosterline strives to reduce the shortfall in the number of foster carers needed by supporting prospective foster carers to investigate the right type of fostering that best matches their expectations and requirement. In the 3 year period we have been contacted by over 9,500 potential foster carers seeking information on the assessment process and how to locate a fostering service.
In addition to providing advice, information and support to prospective foster carers, Fosterline is able to provide impartial, confidential advice and signposting on a wide range of issues to existing foster carers in order to support them in their role of caring for some of society’s most vulnerable young people.
FosterTalk continues to develop and enhance the service to benefit foster carers and fostering in general.”
Key Findings 2016
- Fosterline has delivered free impartial advice, information and signposting 68,500 times during the reporting period.
- The period saw an increase in the percentage of prospective foster carers from 16% to 18% accessing the service.
- Information was provided to a 9,500 prospective foster carers.
- 87% of all calls to Fosterline were answered within 1 minute (an increase of 2% from prior year)
- 8 potential safeguarding issues were highlighted and reported during this period.
- Fosterline achieved 100% availability during the 2,024 hours that the service was advertised as open.
- The Fosterline website has been operational 100% of the time during this period and received visits from 48,880 new users during this timeframe.
- Fosterline continues to play a fundamental role in encouraging the recruitment and retention of foster carers in England by providing a highly responsive, attuned, advice and support service that is staffed by well-informed helpline advisors who understand foster carers’ work.
- Fosterline is able to provide a high level of support and understanding and is recognised as providing low cost, early intervention to empower foster carers and promote positive outcomes for children and young people who are fostered.
Fosterline is funded by the Department for Education to provide independent advice, information and support to foster carers and prospective foster carers in England. FosterTalk meets quarterly with the Department and issues of concern to foster carers are shared confidentially with decision makers in order to inform policy and practice development.
Fosterline fulfils a clear need for an independent, impartial advice and support service to enhance the services offered by LAs and IFAs to foster carers and assist government in the important role of the recruitment and retention of foster carers.
To read the full report, please click here.