Foster carers needed for over-10s
Vulnerable children older than 10 are being "forgotten" amid an "urgent" need for foster carers, a charity has warned.
According to Barnardo's, at least 8,750 new foster families must be found within the next year.
But while there is considerable focus on placing babies and younger children, "the needs of older children are being forgotten," it said.
An analysis of official figures, conducted by Barnardo's, showed nearly 12,000 (43%) of the children who entered care in England last year were aged 10 and over, with some as old as 16 and 17.
Some 80% of them entered care for the first time.
Anne Marie Carrie, the charity's chief executive, said there was now a pressing need for foster parents for older children and for a range of placements so the system works for all youngsters.
"All children deserve a loving home and older children need looking after just as much as infants and babies in order to thrive," she said.
A Department for Education spokesman said: "High quality foster care is critical to improving the lives of children in care, to give them the opportunity to build stable relationships.
"We are encouraging more people to come forward to adopt and foster, particularly children from minority ethnic backgrounds, older children and those with disabilities.
"We have also set up a new Foster Carers' Charter to improve the recognition and status of foster carers and ensure they have the right support for the invaluable job they do."