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Recruitment targets

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 13 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 8,100 foster families in the next 12 months alone. There is a particular need for foster carers to look after teenagers and sibling groups.

Fostering statistics

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.


  • 55,200 children were living with foster families on 31 March 2018.
  • This is nearly four-fifths (78%) of the 70,720 children in care looked after away from home.
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