FosterTalk Respond to Foster Care Statistics 2021

Ofsted has published their annual fostering in England figures (as of 31st March 2021) showing that many vulnerable children are not receiving the care and support they require due to a shortage of foster carers. The report can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fostering-in-england-1-april-2020-to-31-march-2021 The latest data for children looked after, published today, 18th November 2021, show that there were 80,850 children looked after by local authorities (including adoption) as of the same date. This is an increase and an all-time record high for England. https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions/2021 The report reflects that there was a net growth of just over 1000 foster carers with the vast majority of these numbers from independent fostering agencies.

It also shows that those applying to foster tend to be in the ‘over 50’ age range, so there is much to do to encourage and support younger adults to open themselves to the possibility and rewards of fostering. The sector has known for quite some time that one of the greatest difficulties it faces is how to ensure future recruitment and retention of sufficient, high-quality foster families and the need to be more innovative and creative in attracting potential applicants is essential.

The statistics show that almost a fifth of all foster carers are connected persons (family and friends) foster carers who are usually only approved to care for specific children.  

FosterTalk understands the fostering landscape and how the demographic of fostering is changing, (SGO/Kinship/connected person carers) and we provide a service to ensure these carers have the required support, training, and advice to care safely and with confidence for children, safeguard themselves against allegations and empower them to meet the needs of vulnerable children through training and resources.

“FosterTalk provides a service to ensure carers have the required support, training and advice to care safely and with confidence”
Children and young people in need of foster care need to be provided with a foster family who can understand them and help them to recover, rebuild, develop lasting and loving relationships and shine, whilst helping them to cope with the confusing and challenging experiences that being ‘in care’ will present them with.
FosterTalk on behalf of the Department for Education, provides Fosterline, a free and independent advice service that those interested in becoming foster carers can contact for information about all aspects of fostering. There is a ‘Thinking of Fostering’ section on the website at https://www.fosterline.info where there is helpful information and a quiz people can take to help them decide if they could apply to foster. Our events page promotes Information Sessions for those considering applying to foster across the UK from a range of fostering services. Our advisors are available to talk on the phone or by email and will keep in touch with people if they wish to support them through their decision-making. FosterTalk also supports the recruitment process for local authorities and independent fostering agencies by providing its Journey 2 Foster preparation training. This is delivered by experienced foster carers and social workers online or face to face depending on the requirements of the commissioning service. For more information contact training@fostertalk.org
FosterTalk and Fosterline will continue to promote fostering across the UK to ensure that the message reaches as many potential new foster carers as possible and be part of the debate around the need for change and development in the children’s social care sector to support this. We also continue to work to ensure approved carers are valued and supported to carry on fostering and that all children receive the warm and consistent care a foster home can provide.
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Written by Catherine T.