Fostering Statistics UK 2020
Fostering Statistics UK 2020
Foster carers all over the UK provide children with safe, loving and supportive environments to help give them go on to lead happy and healthy lives. Fostering can have such a positive effect on the lives of many, and is an extremely rewarding experience for those who choose to foster a child.
In this article we share all of the most up-to-date fostering statistics about the number of children in care in the UK, peoples’ attitudes towards fostering and the areas with the highest percentage of children in foster care.
How many children are in foster care in the UK?
There are tens of thousands of children currently in the foster care system in the UK. The most recent government figures suggest that as of 2020, there are 78,150 children in the care system in England alone. This is the highest proportion of children in care in the last decade.
It’s estimated that around 72% of children in care are in foster placements. This means that as of 2020, there are 56,268 children in foster care in England.
But which areas in the UK have the highest proportion of children in foster care?
Which parts of England have the most children in foster care?
To find out, we contacted local councils across the country to find out how many children are in foster care in their area. The results across England found that the areas with the highest proportion of children in care were Blackpool, Hartlepool, North East Lincolnshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Hull.
Areas in England with the highest proportion of children in foster care (as of August 2020)
Our research found that:
- Blackpool has the highest proportion of children in foster care, with 1 in every 63 children in the area being in care.
- Hartlepool has the second highest rate of children in foster care in the country, with 1 in every 77 children in the area being in the foster care system.
- North East Lincolnshire which covers towns such as Grimsby and Cleethorpes came third, as 1 in 79 children in the area are fostered.
With 1 in every 80 children who live in the area being in foster care, Stoke-on-Trent follows in fourth place in the rank. Hull also has a high rate of children in foster care, with 1 in every 89 children who live in Hull also being in care.
Liverpool was also in the top 10 list, as 1 in every 99 children in the area are in foster care. Many parts of the North East also appear to have a high number of children in care, as places such as Darlington, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Cleveland and Newcastle-upon-Tyne also can be seen in the top 10 list.
Which parts of Wales have the most children in foster care?
The Welsh government’s most recent report revealed that in March 2019, 4,870 children were living with foster families. To find out which areas have the highest proportion of children in foster care in 2020, we analysed data obtained from local authorities and councils across Wales.
Areas in Wales with the highest proportion of children in foster care (as of August 2020)
The study found that:
- Neath Port Talbot has the highest proportion of children in foster care, as 1 in 82 children living in the area are currently in care.
- The county borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf follows closely behind, with 1 in every 91 children in the area being in foster care.
- Bridgend also has a high number of children in foster care, with 1 in every 100 children being in care in the area.
Blaenau Gwent, Conwy, Swansea and Torfaen are also in the top 10 list of areas with the highest rate of children in foster care, as are Wrexham, Pembrokeshire and Newport.
Children in Care Statistics UK 2020
Our latest research also found the following:
- Over the last 10 years, there’s been a 139% increase in cases where local authorities across the UK have had reason to believe that a child may be suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm. This has accounted for an additional 117,070 cases (up to 201,170).
- The number of available fostering places has increased by 1% since March 2018. However, the number of children who need placements increased by 3% (as of 2019). Therefore, as a country we do not have enough places available for children who are in need of foster homes.
- A survey of 500 UK adults has found that:
- Just over 40% of people would be open to the idea of becoming a foster carer
- Almost 10% say they’d definitely become a foster carer
- Nearly half of people in the UK say they definitely would not want to be a foster carer
Why do children end up in foster care?
According to the charity ‘Home for Good’’s most recent report, the main reasons why children end up in foster care are:
- 63% of children enter the care system due to abuse or neglect
- 14% become looked after due to family dysfunction
- 8% enter the care system because their family are in acute stress
- 7% enter care due to absent parenting
- 3% due to the child’s disability
- And 3% end up in care because of a parent’s illness
How much do foster carers get paid?
In England, the amount a foster carer is paid is highly dependent on their current circumstances. For instance, the area they live in, the age of the child they look after, the child’s specific needs and more.
Foster carer pay has increased in the last year, with current rates being as follows.
Foster carers can also apply for expenses for things such as school trips, holidays, birthdays and religious festivals.
To find out which parts of England and Wales have the highest proportion of children in care, we took the government’s most recent estimates of the average number of children in each area of England and Wales.
We then asked local councils and authorities how many children were in care in each area as of August, 2020. To find out the proportion of children who were in care, we divided the number of children in care in each area by the total number of children living in the area. We then multiplied this by 100 to get the percentage of children in each area who were in care.
For more information about the number of children in care in each area of England and Wales, take a look at our research document here.
It’s important to note that this is not a complete national picture of foster care in these countries, as some councils didn’t provide the data we requested.
We hope these fostering statistics have been useful in helping you to discover how many children are in foster care, which areas have the most children in care and more.