National statistics for fostering and adoption

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

There are currently around 95,000 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 8,100 more foster families to meet the need.

At 30 September 2018, there were 2730 children waiting for adoption in England. 41% 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

  • One third of young offenders and almost one third of the adult prison population self-identify as care-experienced.
  • Only 16% of school leavers who have been in care for the entirety of their final year have one qualification at Level 6 or better.
  • Between 30-50% of the homeless population are care experienced.
  • 28% of young people leave care without a formal ‘pathway’ plan for their next steps.
  • Of young people leaving care eligible for aftercare services, 38% did not receive any.

*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

  • 33% of children leaving care have no qualifications.11
  • 26% of care leavers aged 16-18 have 5 GCSEs (A*-C) or higher, compared to 82% of school leavers as a whole.12
  • 1 in 4 care leavers aged 16-18 had a statement of special educational needs.13
  • 39% 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.
  • One third of care leavers become homeless within the first two years of leaving care and 25% of homeless people are care-experienced.
  • Nearly 40% of care leavers aged 19-21 are NEET* compared to 12% of all 19-21 year olds.
  • 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, a marginal increase on 2017.

*(not in education, training or employment)

Care leavers and care experienced young people

  • 51% of care leavers are in education, training or employment at 12 months after leaving care.
  • Between 20-30% of the young homeless population are care experienced.
  • 23% of children leaving care aged 16 or over have no formal qualifications, vocational or otherwise.
  • 25% of adult prisoners are care experienced and 14% of young women leaving care are pregnant or already a Mother.

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