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Fostering Recruitment and Retention Programme

Mutual Ventures have been appointed as the delivery partner for the Fostering Recruitment and Retention Programme by the Department for Education (DfE), supporting nine regional clusters of local authorities to develop recruitment support hubs. 

Here participating clusters can find information about the programme and access learning resources. 

Programme Elements

A Fostering Recruitment Support Hub which should cover the foster carers journey from initial enquiry through to application and be a centrally-run ‘front door’ to foster care recruitment across each local authority cluster. This means having a single point of contact for those enquiring to foster, and ongoing emotional and practical advice on the approval process. DfE also wants local authorities to standardise processes and work towards agreeing common terms and conditions.

A foster care recruitment communications campaign to drive interest to Recruitment Support Hubs and boost the number of quality enquiries.

Roll out of the evidence-based ‘Mockingbird’ model  to enhance the offer to new applicants and boost retention of existing carers. Local authorities will be funded to develop new Mockingbird ‘’constellations’, based around building strong and supportive relationships among groups of foster carers and children in an area, empowering them to support each other and overcome problems before they escalate

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Guide to Establishing Fostering Recruitment Support Hubs

This 'how to' guide provides a roadmap for establishing a hub, based on experience from the programme.

This guide is designed for:

  • local authorities in the process of establishing a hub – to help them navigate the process and understand all key considerations

  • local authorities that may want to establish a hub in the future – to understand what is required and the process to get there

  • the wider local authority and children’s sector – to share learning from the process of setting up hubs, which may be transferrable for other regional working programmes

Recruitment Support Hub Roadmap


Webinars and articles

Our Support

Regional cluster support

Aim: To provide regular support and challenge to cluster groups as they implement regional recruitment hubs and gather insight to feed into the learning programme.

  • ‚Each regional cluster will have a coach from our core team who will be in regular contact including fortnightly catch-ups.

  • ‚At a high level, support will include 1:1 coaching with senior leaders, change management support, facilitation and conflict management, and acting as a sounding board for issues.

  • ‚Our support will be tailored informed by conversations with cluster leads and key stakeholders.

  • ‚Targeted support from a technical pool of experts and SMEs will also be available.

Learning Programme

Aim: To capture learning and feedback from the programme and provide real-time feedback of emerging evidence to the DfE while also sharing best practice with the wider sector.

  • ‚Learning will be captured from the regional clusters with an initial focus on the Pathfinder.

  • ‚The Learning Team will be responsible for designing and running a programme of events including webinars and masterclasses as well as developing resources e.g., as a best practice guide to regional working.

  • To support programme wide learning, a professional network across all clusters will also be created with community interest groups around cross-cutting issues.

Programme Outcomes


To improve the experience of children in care by ensuring there are more foster carers for children who need them. The programme will focus on recruiting carers where there are areas of shortage, creating good matches in children’s own communities.



To increase the number of foster carers who are successfully recruited by their Local Authority. The support hub will redesign the application process, addressing points in the system where numbers of prospective foster carers leave the application and approval process.


To reduce the number of foster carers who de-register. The support hub will ensure foster carers entering the system are better prepared and less likely to deregister, tackling the high rates of deregistration within the first two years of approval.


To increase placement stability for children in care. The benefits of having more foster carers in the system, who are better supported, will lead to increased placement stability as LAs will be able to form stronger matches between child and placement, and foster carers will be less likely to de-register.


Deliver cost savings for LAs. By expanding the pool of local authorities foster carers, we intend to create cost savings for LAs who will have access to foster homes for children who need them.

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To find out more about the Fostering Recruitment and Retention Programme get in touch with MV Senior Consultant Anya Kemble.

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