Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Fostering in England: The Facts and Figures.

If you’re looking to expand your family without having any – or more – children of your own, or really think you could make a difference to a vulnerable child’s life, fostering could be a fantastic opportunity for yourself and all those involved.

When embarking on any major change like adding to your family, it’s essential that you arm yourself with all the facts at your disposal. Facts regarding fostering in England are a great place to start as you can really catch a glimpse of the impact your decision will have on a young person’s life. It may also help answer any questions you have, and can help you choose a child from a certain situation more suitably.

68,110 children were in the care of local authorities on 31st March 2013.

The most alarming statistic is arguably the sheer quantity of the amount of children in care of government authorities, and the fact that this number has increased by almost 1,000 in just one year.

6% (4,310) of children looked after on 31st March 2013 were under 1 year old.

Newborns and babies account for 6% of this number of children in care, meaning that thousands of children don’t experience living in a proper home with a family until at least they reach the age of one.

20% (13,730) were aged 16 and over.

Statistics also show that those children under one have a significant chance of being fostered in favour of those in their late teens, leaving 16+ year olds more vulnerable than ever. There is a fantastic account here of a mother who fostered a 17 year old close to being ‘aged out’ of the fostering process.

55% (37,510) of children looked after on 31st March 2013 were boys and 45% (30,600) were girls.

And they all want the same thing – to find a family where they can belong, regardless of whether it is short or long term. Think about what you can offer to either a girl or boy, in terms of experience you have with each gender.

75% (50,900) of children looked after on 31st March 2013 were living with foster carers.

This is a fantastic start, but the number could be much higher. With many questions surrounding who is eligible to foster being answered such as can I foster if I have young children? Means that now most responsible, caring adults and family set-ups can.

An extra 7,350 foster families are needed in England, 850 in Scotland, 600 in Wales and 200 in Northern Ireland.

These figures only stand a chance of decreasing if people and families take the plunge and refuse to ignore those children who most desperately need help. The company you choose to use to foster through will guide and help you every step of the way, and you can even look for foster care support groups to speak to people who are in very similar situations to yourself who will understand exactly what you’re going through at each stage of the process.

*  In collaboration with Capstone *

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