We are looking into doing anonymous foster surveys after someone has fostered for us for the first time. Like many groups, we have a high foster turnover rate and would like to improve that. has anyone done foster surveys? What questions did your group ask? What website did you use?
Thanks for any input!
Hello there! Congrats on working on getting feedback for your program! What a great step. I also went through this process for our Foster Program so I know how it goes. I've used the FAST-15 survey for the past couple of years and it has been a wonderful tool, I highly recommend it! https://www.maddiesfund.org/fast-15.htm
We did a foster survey in the fall of last year and it was really helpful. We used Survey Monkey and made our survey anonymous as well. Some of the questions we asked were (we used a Likert scale for most questions, but these are the gist of the questions asked):
We made sure to add in space for fosters to explain their answers or give us advice, ideas, etc.
Thank you so much for sharing. I really love this approach of connecting with our foster parents to not only check in on them as far as preparation but also I feel like some of these questions open the floor to new information that you wouldn't otherwise have gotten. I would love to know more about what the engagement of suggestions on making a foster program better and the reasons past fosters have been turned down.
As our foster program gets restarted, I think even a check in every few months like this would be a healthy way to communicate. Our jobs can get busy and it's important to ensure our foster parents are taken care of just as much. It isn't easy falling in love with a soul for a temporary time. We couldn't do it without them!
I totally agree, making your volunteers and fosters feel heard is so important and can really help with retention. It also can push new ideas and create positive change!
Once we got the survey results back, we sent out an email to all of our fosters. We wanted them to know that we heard what they had to say and then listed the changes we were going to make. We also addressed in the email some of the questions/comments/concerns that we couldn't change, but listed out why. I think just simply allowing them to feel heard and validated and then explaining why some things can't change was just as important for our fosters.
Changes we made:
1. We installed a small cabinet in the volunteer room with foster supplies, so fosters don't have to bug staff (not that we feel bugged when they come in) when they were running low on supplies.
2. Overnights, field trips, and car rides for pets: we are starting programs for all of these. In fact, one of my staff members is taking a Maddies course as we speak to build these programs.
3. We are creating a Google Drive for our fosters (and volunteers) with resources and info. They already get really thorough training, but providing more never hurts. This will include more behoavir resources for undersocialied pets, adults dogs as well as more in-depth neonatal info.
Hopefully that helps!
I've done them at multiple organizations and they were really beneficial. It allows you to get an honest outside look of your program. It will also help you learn a little more about your foster caregiver population and how you can connect with them.
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