Sutton Council wanted to recruit more foster carers and decided to bring the recruitment process in house. They were finding it especially difficult to recruit families to foster teenage children. We won the pitch to create a new recruitment campaign to run on social media. Our strategy was built around the level of reward that can come from fostering teenage children.
When most people think of teenager cared-for children, they imagine confrontation, erratic behaviour and even late night calls from the police. This prejudice can make them very hard to place.
The truth is that children make decisions in their teenage years that define the trajectory for the rest of their lives. Fostering teenagers gives the carer an opportunity to play a part in this most important period and build a relationship that can last a lifetime. It is incredibly satisfying to know you have helped a person make good choices that will allow them to achieve their ambitions. Working with Sutton Council's Children’s Services, we spoke to carers and cared for children. We heard some amazing stories and felt that these needed to be told. We already knew that the most successful route for fostering recruitment was referrals from existing carers, so it made sense to put these stories front and centre of the campaign.
Before we could start on the advertising process we needed to create a new brand for the service. We settled on the name ‘Fostering in Sutton’ because it was a clear articulation of the service. We created the logo so it could be stacked and colour used to pull out the word ‘in’. The roof graphic highlights the word to give it added context. We used this chevron throughout the branding to form boxes and arrows that could help frame images and direct flow.
In the first 2 months, the campaign generated as many enquiries through the website as in the previous 9 months, with more than 350 click-throughs. That led to 6 assessments going to the board for approval, and the campaign continued to perform well.
The publicity around the campaign has raised the profile of Children’s Services within the Council. This has led to requests for service funding to be pushed higher up the agenda. Although only 9 months onto a 2 year campaign, it has already paid for itself and it looks like it will achieve all its KPIs within the year.
increase in applications
above national average enquiry-to-approval rate
children placed as a direct result of the campaign to date