Bright Spots findings highlighted areas for improvement; some children in Sheffield did not like how they looked, felt they didn’t always get to see their friends or have a chance to talk to carers about things that mattered. The fostering service has developed a service-wide response to these areas called the ‘Fostering Five’.


The Bright Spots findings highlighted areas where, on average, children in care in Sheffield were feeling less positive than children in other local authorities. These areas for improvement formed the basis for a fostering service-wide response focused on carers supporting their children.

What did they do?

Across the fostering service Bright Spots sessions with staff and carers have been held focused on the concept of ‘5 conversations’ that carers can focus on. The themes will be woven throughout the service: recruitment, training, supervision and annual reviews. The 5 areas are:

1.Liking how you look

2.Having good friends and friendship groups

3.Doing the same things as other children

4.Talking to us (carers) about things that matter

5.Liking school/education / encouraging education

A ‘Fostering Five’ prompt sheet has been produced with ideas of things carers could try. An action plan can be used (in partnership with the supervising social worker) to reflect on, and record, what the carer feels is going well and areas they want to work on or things they want to try to do differently. There has also been work to link the fostering national minimum standards with the ‘Fostering Five’.

The fostering service manager has produced a short film for carers to watch with their worker or in their support groups to explain the origins of the work and encourage everyone to work on these 5 conversations.

What difference is it making?

The film, prompt sheets and action plan has been rolled out across the fostering service. Train the trainer sessions have been held. Fostering Five is discussed in supervision, support groups and other fostering work. Feedback is that carers are asking their workers to ask them about the Fostering Five!