William Eichler 11 September 2017

Shocking survey reveals 'true scale' of foster care crisis

A new poll by a children’s charity has revealed over 85% of UK adults surveyed show little or no interest in fostering, raising concerns over the future of foster care in the UK.

Carried out by Action for Children, the online survey of 4,262 adults also found that the shortage was most acute among those who are willing and skilled enough to take in young people with complex needs.

The shortage has also been made worse, according to the charity’s findings, by demographic shifts as more foster carers over 50 are being lost to retirement.

‘These shocking figures reveal the true scale of the current fostering crisis in the UK,’ said Action for Children director John Egan.

‘Across the country, we have more and more children and young people who desperately need the stability a foster carer can give them yet we have fewer and fewer foster parents.

‘We think the lack of interest, in fostering teens in particular, is down to fear of the unknown as well as a shift towards a less altruistic society in general,’ he added.

The Local Government Association (LGA) urged anyone thinking about fostering a child to contact their local council.

Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said: 'We would always want more people to consider becoming involved in fostering, but it is encouraging to think that if the 14 per cent of people identified in this survey were all able to provide a loving home for a child, we would have millions of potential foster carers to look after our most vulnerable children.'

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