Capacity in foster care ‘stalling’ despite rising demand, Ofsted warns

New data shows that the number of fostering places and carers only increased slightly this year, despite demand being at its highest.

13/11/20

Capacity in foster care ‘stalling’ despite rising demand, Ofsted warns

Ofsted’s annual fostering statistics show there has been little change in capacity, adding to concerns about the difficulty in finding suitable care for the most vulnerable children in an over-stretched system.

The report shows that there continues to be interest in becoming a foster carer, with enquiries from prospective carers rising. However, the figures show a 10% decrease in applications since March last year.

The statistics also, for the first time, show the age profile of England’s foster carers, indicating that a majority (65%) are aged over 50, while a quarter of carers are aged over 60.

The statistics, released this week, represent the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

The statistics come as new Ofsted research highlights the difficulty local authorities and fostering agencies face in making good matches for children.

Ofsted says ‘a lack of carers with the right skills and experience is proving to be the most significant barrier to getting a good match’, especially for groups, and for disabled children and teenagers.

Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s National Director for Regulation and Social Care, said: “Although today’s statistics show a small rise in foster carers and places, there still isn’t anywhere near enough to meet demand. The difficulty in recruiting carers with the right skills and experience, along with what is potentially an aging carer population, is a mix that could be storing up trouble for the future.

“Combined with the urgent need for more residential provision, ensuring a sustainable system, with a pool of carers and homes that meet children’s increasingly complex needs, has to be a priority for the forthcoming Care Review.”

Paint on Face

Coventry City Council

Restorative Practice Lead

Job of the week

Sign up for an informal interview for this role today

Featured event

Featured jobs

Coventry City Council

Restorative Practice Lead

Change Grow Live

Senior Social Worker - Think Family Designated Safeguarding Lead

SWT_SideAd1.png

Most popular articles today

Virtual School Heads role to be extended to ensure focus on children with a social worker

Virtual School Heads role to be extended to ensure focus on children with a social worker

MPs launch inquiry into new models of children's social work and their impact

MPs launch inquiry into new models of children's social work and their impact

Child trafficking victim decisions to be taken away from Home Office in new scheme

Child trafficking victim decisions to be taken away from Home Office in new scheme

Care Review says investigation has dominated over support in first major findings

Care Review says investigation has dominated over support in first major findings

Sponsored Content

What's new today:

Supporting social work students with additional needs during their placement