A thought-provoking article here which addresses the challenges faced by those in the UK prepared to take on the daunting work of fostering.

According to the Telegraph, there are 87,000 British children in care today. Each one needs a stable, loving environment and children’s homes are a last resort. But with a new child coming into care every 22 minutes, Britain’s fostering system is struggling to cope.

Several factors, including changes to risk assessment by social services and the effect of the recession, have led to a “huge rise in family breakdown” The result - the number of children in care has risen by 57 per cent over the past four years in the UK.

However, whilst demand for care has risen significantly, the fostering option has become harder to organise:

“Yet the numbers of foster carers have declined, with carers retiring and not being replaced. People are also starting families later, and children are staying at home longer. By the time people have the spare time and rooms to foster, they no longer have the energy. At present, 75 per cent of children in care live with foster parents”

Lots more useful stats and insights from the article, including this:

“Children who have been through the care system are far more likely to become teenage parents than their peers – and twice as likely to lose the right to care for these children. More than half leave school with no qualifications, and they are more likely to end up in prison than at university, with one quarter of the prison population consisting of former “looked-after” children. Nearly 50 per cent of crimes committed by under-21 year-olds are by children in care.”

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