The Fosterline annual report covers the period from 1st May 2017 to 30th April 2018 and reflects the impact that Fosterline, delivered by FosterTalk on behalf of the department of Education has had upon users of the service.

The report takes into account information received from both prospective and current foster carers with consideration to 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
  • Service user feedback via web-forms
  • Survey of prospective foster carers who took the fostering criteria questionnaire on the Fosterline website
  • Survey of fostering services (both local authority and independent agencies)
  • Mystery shop

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 future policy.

Report Period (Year 5) May 1st 2017 to April 30th 2018

 “Fosterline continues to play a fundamental role in encouraging the positive communication between foster carers, fostering services and other relevant professionals in the ultimate goal to provide the best possible environment for the child or young person in care. Fosterline provides a responsive service with attuned advice from highly trained well informed helpline advisors who have experienced and understand the role of foster carers, their views and perspectives, needs and requirements as well as the legislation and good practice required to achieve good foster care.

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.”

Steven Stockley

Fosterline Manager


Key Findings

  • Of the 1,968 hours that the service was advertised as open, Fosterline achieved 100% availability
  • The average call to Fosterline lasts 32 minutes giving enough time for complex issues to be discussed fully with an advisor
  • The number of visitors has increased 35% from the previous reporting period to 128,163 visitors
  • The Fosterline website has been operational for 100% of the time over the past year. A total of 100,444 new users have visited the website over the past year with over 27,719 repeat users, an increase of 38% and 28% respectively
  • A total of 4 potential safeguarding issues were highlighted during this reporting period. Down from 8 potential safeguarding issues highlighted in the previous report year 
  • Fosterline actively promotes the recruitment of foster carers. 15% of all of the enquiries responded to by the advisors and 15% of visitors to the website seek information on becoming a foster carer. This gives a potential of approximately 19,500 prospective foster carers looking for information.

 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.