Recruitment targets

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Today, over 64,000 children are living with almost 55,000 foster families. The Fostering Network estimates that a further 7,180 foster families are needed in the next 12 months alone, in order to ensure all fostered children can live with the right family for them.

Foster care provides children with a safe, secure and nurturing family environment, and allows them to keep in contact with their own families if they wish and if it is in their best interests.

With record numbers of children in care and around 10 per cent of the foster carer workforce retiring or leaving every year, The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services across the UK need to recruit at least a further 7,180 foster families in the next 12 months alone. There is a particular need for foster carers to look after teenagers and sibling groups.

Fostering services work all year round to find and recruit the foster carers they need locally to look after these children. Without enough foster families willing and able to offer homes to these groups, some children will find themselves living a long way from family, school, and friends, being split up from brothers and sisters, or being placed with a foster carer who does not have the ideal skills and experience to meet their specific needs.
 

Numbers of foster families needed across the UK
 

UK  7,180 more foster families needed
England 5,900
Northern Ireland 200
Scoland 640
Wales 440

Regional breakdown in England
 

North West 1,050
North East 360
Yorkshire and the Humber 610
West Midlands 770
East Midlands 440
East of England 530
London 830
South West 480
South East 830


Methodology


In order to calculate the recruitment targets, the Fostering Network uses the best available statistics and sector intelligence and makes a number of assumptions based on our market knowledge.
 
There are three elements in the calculation:
 

Replacing those who leave the fostering workforce during the year


Using the Ofsted dataset for England, we take the average percentage of the fostering workforce leaving across the previous three years. We assume it will hold for the forthcoming year and that it is applicable across the UK.
 

Number of children in care on any one day


The number of children coming into care has been rising in recent years. We look at the rise in the previous year in each nation according to government statistics, and, using sector intelligence about current trends, adjust this to provide an estimate for the rise in the next 12 months.
 

Increasing the size of the pool of available foster carers


Fostering services continue to report that in some parts of the country there are simply no available foster carers or specific shortages of households willing/able to care for teenagers, sibling groups, disabled children, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and so on.
 

We, therefore, include a further element to enable growth of the pool of available foster carers to improve placement choice.

The sum of these three elements gives a percentage rise which we apply to the number of existing foster families in each nation. In England these figures are taken from the Ofsted dataset, elsewhere they are calculated from The Fostering Network’s membership database plus an estimate of the number not in membership.

A slight adjustment is made to these figures to reflect some national differences, giving us the recruitment targets in each nation.