Fostering statistics

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Over 65,000 children live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK each day. This is nearly 80% of the 83,000 children in care away from home on any one day in the UK.

Every year thousands of new foster families are needed.

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

  • 56,160 children were living with foster families on 31 March 2019.
  • This is 72 per cent of the 78,150 children in care looked after away from home (Deparment for Education, 2018).
  • There are around 44,450 foster families in England.
  • Every year thousands of new foster families are needed in England.

Northern Ireland

  • 2,592 children were living with foster families on 31 March 2019.
  • This is 79 per cent of the 3,281 children in care looked after away from home.
  • There are approximately 2,100 foster families in Northern Ireland, and there is always a need for more foster families.
For more details see the Department of Health website.
 

Scotland

  • 4,730 children were living with foster families on 31 July 2019.
  • This is roughly three-quarters of children in care looked after away from home and family.
  • There are approximately 3,800 foster families in Scotland.
  • Every year hundreds of new foster families are needed in Scotland.
For more details, see the Scottish Government website and the Care Inspectorates' website.
 

Wales

  • 4,870 children were living with foster families on 31 March 2019.
  • This is 71 per cent of the 6,845 children in care looked after away from home.
  • There are approximately 3,700 foster families in Wales.
  • Every year hundreds of new foster families are needed in Wales.

For more details see the Welsh Government website.

 

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