National statistics for fostering and adoption

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This year in the UK, around 40,000 children and young people will enter the care system. That’s 109 every day.

There are currently around 99,000 children in the UK who are classified as looked-after away from home. An increase of 3% from the previous year.

More than 65,000 children live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK.

The UK urgently needs to recruit 8,600 more foster families to meet the need.

At 31 December 2018, there were 2750 children waiting for adoption in England. 39% of these had been waiting eighteen months or more.

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Care Leavers and care-experienced young people

Care leavers and care experienced young people

  • 26% of prisoners are care-experienced, with 27% of care experienced prisoners having experienced more than six different placements whilst in care.9
  • Only 12% of school leavers who have been in care for the entirety of their final year have one qualification at Level 6 or better.10
  • It is estimated that 17%of young people leaving care who are eligible for aftercare go on to make a homeless application.11
  • 28% of young people leave care without a formal ‘pathway’ plan for their next steps.12
  • Of young people leaving care eligible for aftercare services, 38% did not receive any.13

*For the purposes of comparison with other UK nations, ‘looked after’ here refers to children looked after away from their home or parents.

Care leavers and care experienced young people

  • 31% of children leaving care have no qualifications.11
  • 27% of care leavers aged 16-18 have 5 GCSEs (A*-C) or higher.12
  • Nearly 1 in 4 care leavers aged 16-18 had a statement of special educational needs.13
  • 35% of care leavers aged 19 were NEET*.14
  • 12% of all care leavers aged 19 were parents.15

*(not in education, employment or training)

Care leavers and care-experienced young people

  • Nearly half of all young men (21 and under) in custody have experience of the care system.14
  • One third of care leavers become homeless within the first two years of leaving care15 and 25% of homeless people are care experienced.16
  • 39% of care leavers aged 19-21 were NEET* compared to 12%of all 19-21 year olds.17
  • 26% of 19 and 20-year olds continue to live with their former foster carers through ‘Staying Put’ despite ceasing to be looked after on their 18th birthday, the same as 2018.18

Care leavers and care experienced young people

  • 53% of care leavers are in education, training or employment at 12 months after leaving care.10
  • Around 20% of homeless people in Wales are care leavers.11
  • 25% of adult prisoners are care experienced.12
  • 14% of young women leaving care are pregnant or already a Mother.13

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