Across Australia, and all around the world, Governments and organisations struggle to find enough mature, appropriate adults willing to take on foster care. We don’t know of anywhere where there are always enough loving homes for kids in need. There are Government call outs, clever marketing campaigns, celebrity endorsements and awareness-raising drives. These may increase enquiries for a while, but they never generate enough actual new foster carers to fill the need.

There is an ongoing search to find the “magic bullet” that will bring in enough people to fill the huge need for safe, secure homes for society’s vulnerable children. Because who doesn’t want to help out kids, right? Perhaps this magic bullet does not exist, and clearly it is not that simple. There are a variety of reasons why people do not want, or do not feel able, to open their hearts and homes to become a foster carer.

There are a wide variety of reasons why people do not want, or do not feel able, to open their hearts and homes to become a foster carer

We would love to hear from people who have considered, and then rejected the idea of becoming a carer. If this is you, please take our quiz below. You can click multiple answers, or write your own reason in the “other” section.

If this is not you, do you know someone who may be able to give us an insight into why they said no to foster care? Can you share this quiz with them?


How much do you know about personality types? Do you like to find out which categories you fall into? If you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer, or you already are one, it may well be that you fall into the personality type categorised as a ‘Pioneer’ according to research into ‘Why Foster Carers Care’ conducted by the UK’s Fostering Network.

This research found that an amazing 73% of foster carers displayed character traits that put them into the ‘Pioneer’ category against an average of just 42% of the general population. But what does this mean?

An amazing 73% of foster carers displayed character traits that put them into the ‘Pioneer’ category against an average of just 42% of the general population!

Pioneers share a set of common values which make them much more likely to become foster carers than people characterised as ‘Prospectors’ or ‘Settlers’, the other two main personality types identified in the study[i]. None of these types of personality are “better” than the others. They simply describe what individuals are like, and give an indication of the types of activities they might feel comfortable to undertake.

If you have a strong desire for fairness, justice and equality, are concerned about the environment and society, are reasonably self-assured, open to change and feel that whatever life throws at you you will manage, then chances are you are a Pioneer! Pioneers also like to understand the big picture, and feel like they are working towards making things better.

 

Other research[ii] by eminent Professor of Social Welfare, Jill Duerr-Berrick, describes high-quality care-givers as typically being flexible, teachable, members of a team, loving, interested in strengthening a family, and up for a challenge. All of these attributes are consistent with (but not exclusive to) the characteristics of the Pioneer personality type.

Does this sound like you or someone you know? You don’t have to be a ‘Pioneer’ to become a foster carer, but if you identify with some of the character traits above, maybe it’s time to give us a call and find out how you can make a difference in a child or young person’s life!

Take this special Fostering NSW version of the Pioneers, Prospectors & Settlers Quiz to find out which category best describes you!

 

 

[i] The research uses the ‘Values Mode’ system of evaluation developed by Cultural Dynamics Strategy & Marketing and based on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
[ii] Berrick, J. D., Shauffer, C., & Rodriguez, J. (2011). Recruiting for excellence in foster care: Marrying child welfare research with brand marketing strategies. Journal of Public Child Welfare. 5(2)