Every 20 minutes a child comes into care in the UK in need of a foster family to look after them for as long as they need it – sometimes a few days, other times a whole childhood.
There are many reasons for children entering care such as short-term illness of a parent to exposure to abuse or neglect. Regardless of their previous experiences, it is important that these children and young people have the opportunity to live in a family that can offer them the love and stability they need to thrive and successfully transition into adulthood.
We currently estimate that there is a need for more than 8,000 new fostering families across the UK over the next 12 months.
More specifically, there is a requirement for foster carers who are able to look after teenagers, sibling groups and children and young people with additional needs.
The vast majority of children and young people in care are over the age of 10, so it follows that most foster carers look after older children and teenagers.
Groups of siblings are frequently placed separately due to few foster carers having the space required to look after more than one child, so foster carers with more than one spare room are also being sought. In many cases where siblings are kept together, fostering services have had to look outside of the children’s local area in order to find foster carers who can accommodate multiple children. Although together, this can also be detrimental to the group as it may take them away from familiar surroundings and routines, as well as their support network of friends, teachers and extended family.
Finding foster carers with the specialist skills and experience required to look after children and young people with physical, emotional or learning needs is also crucial to ensure an easier transition into care for such children.
The more fostering families there are in the UK the more likely children and young people are to find a match which is well suited to their needs, interests and personality.
If you would like to know more about becoming a foster carer then please see the Could you foster? section of our website.