For our first campaign of 2024, Cowshed has married long term community insights with an innovative creative approach to inspire people from all walks of life to consider fostering for a local authority.
There are more than 7,000 children in the care system in Wales, but only 3,800 foster families.
To address this shortage, we spent more than a year gathering deep insights within the fostering community to develop a theory of change that targets some of the most common barriers and misconceptions people face when considering becoming a foster carer.
These barriers include not feeling skilled or experienced enough to make a ‘big’ difference to a young person’s life, not feeling that fostering fits into their current lifestyle and a lack of understanding around the variety of fostering available.
The new campaign – ‘bring something to the table’ -– shares realistic experiences of foster care and explores the small but significant human attributes people possess which can make the world of difference to a young person in care.
The campaign launched with a series of three 30-second films, shown across TV and digital services. Interactions between foster carers and children with authentic VO taken from conversations with real foster carers powerfully relay the need for children in care to have welcoming foster families.
We regularly hear the incredible stories of foster carers and knew their experiences could provide the emotive backbone of our PR and creative execution. It has been vital to co-produce this campaign with the entire fostering community, from carers to professionals to care experienced young people, as by working together we enable the best outcomes for all.
Cath and Neil are long-term foster carers in Wrexham. Their patience and perseverance in overcoming the food insecurity felt by their foster children directly inspired one of the campaign adverts. Their story shows that thoughtfulness, compassion, and a child centred approach are some of the most important ‘skills’ you require as a carer.
“Quite a few children who come into our care have worries over where their next meal is coming from. So, we set the dining table in the morning. Then they know when they come home, there will be dinner waiting for them.”
We believe in work with meaning, and nothing is more meaningful than providing better futures for young people.
With Wales moving towards a not-for-profit model for the care of children looked after, it is imperative we look at innovative ways of communicating the benefits of fostering with a local authority and provide people with the confidence and re-assurance to apply.
For more information about fostering, or to make an enquiry, visit: fosterwales.gov.wales