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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  • Approximately 50% of looked after* children live with foster families.
  • 38% of all looked after* children live with kinship carers.
  • It is estimated that a further 580 more foster families are needed.
  • 5% of all looked after children experience three or more placement changes every year.


  • 71% of looked after children are accommodated in foster care placements.3
  • It is estimated that fostering services need to recruit a further 550foster families.4


  • 79% of looked after children are in foster placements.4
  • It is estimated that 250 more foster families need to be recruited.5
  • 48% of children in foster care are in a kinship placement.6


  • 72% of looked after children are in foster placements.6
  • It is estimated that a further 7,220foster families need to be recruited over the next year.7
  • Over the past year, 10% of fostered children have had three or more placements.8

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