The future of recruiting foster carers
09 Dec 2010
Changing the message and utilising all channels. Held at Westminster Studios, London SW1

There is serious concern for the future of fostering services as children’s services experience an unprecedented increase in the number of children entering the care system. 

Managing the increased demand on the system will require an urgent look at the face of foster care and a strategic analysis of the marketing techniques currently used to recruit new foster carers.

Overcoming these difficulties at a time of austerity has fostering providers looking to new, innovative and cost effective ways to communicate the many incentives to foster.

This conference provided delegates with the opportunity to hear from sector leaders, academics and government who will inform on future policy developments and best practice.

Delegates were shown new recruitment techniques while networking with peers to ensure local authorities and independent providers can work together to tackle the increased demand on the system.

Programme
10:00
David Akinsanya, Campaigner and Broadcaster
Welcome and introduction from conference Chair

10:10
David Holmes, Chief Executive, BAAF
From a volunteer based workforce to a modern, highly skilled, child centred service: What children need from foster carers today

10:30
Professor Pat Petrie, Professor of Education, Institute of Education
International foster care and social pedagogy: the effective employment and support of foster carers

10:50
Questions and discussion: Session 1
11:00
Refreshments, networking and exhibition
11:30
Paul Syrett, Director, Simply Fostering
Targeting specific groups: meeting the demand for hard to place children

11:50
Emma Harding, Independent Consultant, Hilltop Communications
Local authority case study: Cheshire West and Chesters’ effective recruitment campaign

12:10
Jonathan Toomey, Chief Executive, FosterCare UK
Independent provider case study: FosterCare UK’s retention of foster carers

12:30
Panel Debate: How can local authorities meet government’s demands to reduce ‘excessive restrictions’ for foster carers?
Jonathan Toomey, Chief Executive, FosterCare UK Karen Barrick, Head of Children’s Placement Services, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council Cllr Clare Campion-Smith, Bristol City Council

13:00
Buffet lunch, networking and exhibition
14:00
Kyle MacRae, Director, Blether Media
Recruitment campaigns on a restricted budget: Best Practice in utilising new media technologies

14:15
Harry Bott, Sales and Marketing Director, MediaHawk
Return on investment: Spending your advertising budget on the most effective mediums

14:30
Paul Stokes, Principal Fostering Manager, Stoke on Trent City Council
Participation of foster carers: Involving foster carers in recruitment campaigns to utilise word of mouth and increase conversion rates

14:45
Paul Adams, Project Independent Social Work Consultant
Meeting the ‘Sufficiency Duty’ through consortium working: The North West London Fostering Consortium experience

15:00
Questions and discussion: Session 3
15:10
Refreshments, networking and exhibition
15:40
Seminar 1: Utilising exit interviews
Paula Gibbons, Fostering Manager, North Tyneside Council

15:40
Seminar 2: Providing foster carers with the skills they need
Niki Kelly, Trainer, Skills4Learning

15:40
Seminar 3: Practically implementing new media technologies
Dr Magda David Hercheui, Senior Lecturer in Project Management and Social Media Champion, University of Westminster

16:30
Close of conference