There is a national shortage of foster carers, and with over 98,000 children in care on any one day in the UK, every year thousands of new foster families are needed – and the John Lewis Partnership is taking action.

This Foster Care Fortnight, the John Lewis Partnership has announced today that it will offer additional paid leave to all new foster carers within its businesses (John Lewis and Waitrose) – furthering its commitment to support care-experienced people.

The retailer has also become the largest organisation to receive Foster Friendly accreditation via the Fostering Network.

The accolade acknowledges the Partnership as a Foster Friendly employer just a few months after launching its Building Happier Futures programme to support the care-experienced community, and its viral Christmas ad featuring new foster carers.

Kate Lawson, Director of External Affairs at the Fostering Network and Building Happier Futures advisory board representative, says:

“The John Lewis Partnership have done so much to support foster care and provide opportunities for care experienced young people. From helping the fostering community recruit more and much-needed foster carers with their outstanding Christmas advert, to forming the Building Happier Futures scheme. We are thrilled that their support does not stop there.

Becoming a Fostering Friendly employer – the largest one in the UK – and joining the fostering community is something to be really proud of. This is key in supporting foster carer employees and recognising the vital difference they make to the lives of children and young people.”

Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership says:

“We are incredibly proud to be giving even more support to our Partners who are foster carers. They will now qualify for an additional week of paid leave, meaning they will have more flexibility to balance all the things they need to be great foster carers – attending appointments or undertaking training.

“There is a national shortage of foster carers, leaving many children without a stable background and unable to fulfil their potential. We are delighted to be playing our part to support foster carers as part of a broader programme of helping care experienced young people to get access to jobs and training in the Partnership.”

Claire Coutinho, Minister for Children, Families and Wellbeing said:

“I’ve met so many inspiring foster carers who make sure that children in their care have a safe and loving home, so it’s fantastic to see the John Lewis Partnership offering additional paid leave to all new foster carers within its businesses.

“There are so many benefits to being a foster carer, which is why we’ve committed to offering even more support through our Children’s social care strategy. We’re also investing over £27 million to deliver a fostering recruitment and retention programme, so even more foster care is available for the children who need it.”

Paul Carberry, Chief Executive at Action for Children – charity partner of John Lewis Partnership says:

“We know that becoming a foster carer, nurturing a child who needs love, care and attention as part of a family, takes time and commitment.

“Every year, we work with over 40,000 children and young people in, or with experience of, the care system, and understand the complex challenges foster carers face.

“We were delighted to support John Lewis Partnership with advice on becoming a Fostering Friendly employer and applaud it for taking this vital step.  We believe it will have a great impact, not only to support new foster carers within its business but directly to the most vulnerable children and young people in the country who they care for.”





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.