Fostering statistics

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Nearly 64,000 children live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK each day. This is nearly 80% of the 81,000 children in care away from home on any one day in the UK.

The statistics below provide a picture of the care system on just one day of the year. Around 30,000 more children come into care over the course of 12 months, with similar numbers leaving the care system to return home, move in with another family member, live with new adoptive families, become subject to a special guardianship or residence order or move on to adult life.
 

England

  • 53,420 children were living with foster families on 31 March 2017.
  • This is nearly four-fifths (78%) of the 68,300 children in care looked after away from home.
  • There are around 44,625 foster families in England.
  • The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services need to recruit a further 5,900 foster families in the next 12 months – read more on our recruitment targets.

Northern Ireland

  • 2,212 children were living with foster families on 31 March 2016.
  • This is nearly nine tenths (88%) of the 2,500 children in care looked after away from home.
  • There are approximately 2,095 foster families in Northern Ireland.
  • The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services need to recruit a further 200 foster families in the next 12 months – read more on our recruitment targets.

Scotland

  • 5,392 children were living with foster families on 31 July 2016.
  • This is three-quarters (75%) of 7,168 children in care looked after away from home and family.
  • There are approximately 4,500 foster families in Scotland.
  • The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services need to recruit a further 640 foster families in the next 12 months – read more on our recruitment targets.
For more details, see the Scottish Government website.
 

Wales

  • 4,264 children were living with foster families on 31 March 2016.
  • This is over four-fifths (85%) of the 5,037 children in care looked after away from home.
  • There are approximately 3,700 foster families in Wales.
  • The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services need to recruit a further 440 foster families in the next 12 months – read more on our recruitment targets.

For more details see the Welsh Government website.