Laura Sharman 12 November 2021

Figures paint 'bleak picture' of foster care

Figures paint bleak picture of foster care image

A lack of foster carers means vulnerable children are not getting the support they need, Ofsted has warned.

Its annual fostering statistics show that while the number of children in foster care has increased by 11% since 2011, the number of foster carers has only risen by 4%.

It warns this makes it difficult to match children who often have complex needs with the right carers.

The statistics also show that while there were record levels of enquiries from prospective foster carers last year at 160,000 only 10,000 of these resulted in applications, a decrease on previous years.

'Today’s statistics paint a bleak picture', warned Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s national director for social care. 'Foster carers make such a difference to children’s lives. But year on year we see more children coming into foster care, and too few carers with the right skills to give them the support they deserve. How long can this go on before the care system reaches breaking point?

'We rarely see children coming into care who don’t need to be, but with the right help earlier, some may be able to remain with their families. We also need to urgently boost the number of foster carers, making sure they, and the children they care for, get the right support.'

The statistics also reveal that the number of family and friends fostering households is at its highest level yet.

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