60% of children in care are ten and over (as of March 2015 – Department for Education)

The majority of children aged ten and over are considered ‘hard to place’ by their local authorities, because of the high interest in fostering babies and toddlers. It’s believed that older children come with more behavioural challenges and are therefore a daunting prospect for potential carers.

Finding fostering placements for this demographic is becoming more crucial than ever, as the numbers of older children entering care go up each year. There is a significant amount of work being done among fostering services to explain the benefits of fostering children and teenagers, in an attempt to broaden potential foster carers’ expectations.

However at the same time, during the months of September and October, we have seen a marked increase in the number of online searches for fostering.


Net Natives work with over 80 local authorities and fostering organisations generating thousands of fostering enquiries each year. During the peak months of September and October, we see a marked increase in the number of parents coming forward, particularly mothers saying they feel they could offer a home to a child in care, now their own children have moved out.

This group of parents already have the experience and skills needed to bring up a teenager. With training and support from a fostering service, they could use these skills to take on older foster children. Also, in the more senior age bracket of 50-65, they are less likely to want to take on a long-term fostering placement for a baby or toddler.

So how do we target this audience and drive enquiries from those interested in fostering for your organisation?

Who to target?

  • Older couples and single people 45-65
  • Have children 21+
  • Follow youth charities
  • Engage with fostering content
  • Actively looking to foster older children

Which platforms and media channels to use?

Traditional above the line media channels do not allow you to target prospective foster carers. Only a small percentage of the audience you are reaching would ever want to or be able to foster.

Therefore by choosing to use more targeted channels, such as digital platforms and direct mail, you can ensure that a much higher percentage of the audience you reach are relevant to fostering. By utilising data led methods, you can segment audiences and target demographics that match the criteria mentioned above.

Facebook is a platform that we have used successfully to find foster carers for older children. Once overrun with teenagers and millennials, Facebook has become increasingly popular with an older demographic and recognised as the go-to channel for engaging with people aged 45 and over.


Graph showing growth in age demographics of Facebook users

Through combining interest and age targeting, we are able to hone in on specific audiences and generate quality enquiries from those that we know have both the interest and ability to foster older children.

Running well-targeted campaigns, at key times throughout the year, will generate quality enquiries, instead of producing irrelevant leads from people who don’t convert. Although these targeted enquiries may come at a greater cost per lead, the overall cost per approved application will be much lower; which everyone should be focusing on in this economic climate.

We ran over 40 digital marketing campaigns during September last year; with the sole aim of recruiting Empty Nesters and finding a foster home for older children. Our clients received over 1,300 highly qualified enquiries from potential foster carers who expressed  an interest. The ability to easily access this demographic only allows for a much greater concentration of marketing spend, and better value outcomes.

You can check out case studies to get an idea of the effectiveness of our work.

Liverpool City Council – Benefiting from focusing marketing activity on key times of the year

West Sussex County Council – Targeting niche carers

If you would like to know more about how Net Natives has helped the 80+ organisations we worked with to reach a targeted audience, please enquire below and we will be in touch.

Article by


Megan Dillon

Content Marketing Executive