Agenda item

The Fostering Service Annual Report 2022-2023 Update

To receive an update on the Fostering Service Annual Report for the period of 2022-2023.



The Service Manager for Fostering Residential provided an update to the panel on the Fostering Service Annual Report 2022-2023 and outlined the following:


·       The report provided a summary of the strategy in place during the timescale the report covered. During this time the service was struggling to recruit foster carers, as a result the service was developing ideas to attract more foster carers. It was advised that the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis had impacted the number of foster carers recruited.

·       The service had collated feedback during this period from foster carers on their experiences, to identify potential areas for improvement.

·       The service had identified that there was a requirement to return to place-based marketing and some good examples were provided of how new foster carers were recruited through events such as the Rotherham Show.

·       There had been an increase in fees and allowances for foster carers during this period, which had improved the competitiveness of the local authority within the market in relation to the recruitment and retention offer.

·       There had been a return to face-to-face events, an example was provided of the foster carer’s celebration event. There had also been an increase in support groups for foster carers, due to an increase in isolation during the pandemic. It was recognised that buddying schemes were very important for potential foster carers.

·       It was advised that the Pathways to Care Budget was unique to Rotherham, which was available for a variety of purposes. An example was provided of how room adaptations could be completed for potential or existing foster carers, to create further provision for fostering.

·       The number of foster carers that were approved during this period was higher than the previous year, with recruitment also further increasing this year to date.

·       There were pledges provided by directorates on what they could assist with, in relation to the recruitment and retention of foster carers, as a result there had been more advertising.

·       There had been a decrease during this period of people who downloaded the information guide on fostering and then continued on to the enquiry stage. However, it was noted that this number was still at a good level compared to other local authorities.

·       There had been a focus on the retention of foster carers during this period, this had resulted in a decrease in de-registrations of foster carers. In relation to the data regarding the length of time people fostered before de-registering from the service, there was 36% of people who fostered for two years or less before de-registering.  The data captured on de-registrations had since been used to inform the Retention Strategy.

·       A high-level overview was provided on the number of children in care and placement stability, disruption, and planned endings. It was evident during this period that a strong focus was required on placement stability and disruption. It was noted that the service was now in a strong position to work towards stabilising placements. The reasons for unplanned endings were discussed, it was advised that the challenging behaviours of young people, the wellbeing of foster carers and matching were identified reasons. These areas of focus would be strengthened within the Fostering Plan.

·       There was a report produced by the Fostering Panel, which provided an insight into the good quality of work the Panel were seeing, it was evident that the quality of assessments was improving and fostering assessments were very strong.


The Chair thanked the Service Manager for Fostering Residential for the presentation and invited questions. This led to the following points being raised during discussions:


·       A comprehensive wellbeing offer had been developed which included a drop-in session for foster carers where they could check-in in a safe environment. The wellbeing offer was in its infancy and would be further developed in due course.

·       There had been an increase in Independent Fostering Agency transfers.


Supporting documents: