State of the Nation's Foster Care

Three-quarters of looked after children in the UK are cared for by foster families. This means that improving the outcomes for children in care must start with improving the practical and financial support for foster carers who play such a vital role in transforming children's lives.

Established in 2016, our State of the Nation's Foster Care survey's are the largest and most comprehensive surveys of the UK's fostering sector. We share the survey findings with national and local decision and policy makers to inform and influence the foster care agenda.

In 2021 we introduced a survey for fostering services to sit alongside our work with foster carers, to ensure a complete overview of the fostering community was achieved. 

Our State of the Nation research acts as a yard stick for progress in key areas of foster care from one survey to the next.

By identifying the issues affecting those working in the fostering sector every day, we are able to provide a reliable snapshot of fostering in the UK and understand where improvements need to be made.

Our foster carer survey covers topics including:

  • stability for children in foster care
  • training, support and finances
  • status and authority
  • allegations
  • views and attitudes towards fostering.

Our fostering service survey covers topics such as:

  • recruitment and retention of foster carers 
  • support for foster carers 
  • the matching process
  • placement endings for children in foster care 
  • maintaining relationships.


We are currently working on our State of the Nation’s Foster Care 2021 Report. 

Find out more


Previous State of the Nation research

State of the Nation's Foster Care 2019 

State of the Nation's Foster Care 2016