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Plea for 8,000 more foster carers

Published 01/06/2015

Around 52,500 of the 63,000 children in care in the UK live with foster families
Around 52,500 of the 63,000 children in care in the UK live with foster families

More than a third of (40%) teenagers in care are already living with their third foster family, a survey has suggested.

The Fostering Network found one in four (25%) fostered teenagers are living with at least their fourth family in care, one in six (17%) with their fifth and one in 20 with their 10th.

Around 52,500 of the 63,000 children in care in the UK live with foster families and the vast majority will spend their entire childhoods in foster care while some will return home or to live with a member of their wider family and around 10% are adopted.

The charity said the figures highlight the importance of finding more foster families to give teenagers stable lives.

A spokeswoman said: "Being moved from home to home can have a hugely detrimental effect on children's education, well-being and ability to make and maintain relationships.

"Not being able to find the right foster carer also means that children too often have to live a long way from family, friends and school and are split up from their brothers and sisters. Finding the right foster carer, at the outset of a child's journey in care, can lead to stability, improved relationships and a positive experience of childhood.

"The Fostering Network estimates that there is an urgent need for fostering services to recruit 8,370 new foster carers across the UK in 2015, to meet the needs of the rising number of children coming into care."

The survey was released to mark the start of charity's annual annual Foster Care Fortnight campaign.

Jackie Sanders, director of The Fostering Network, said: "As each year passes, we see more and more children coming into care. We need people who can open their heart, and their homes, to vulnerable children and young people and use their skills to help support them to reach their full potential.

"In particular we need people who have the skills, patience and passion to look after teenagers who may have had a really tough time and be facing some real challenges, and to offer them love, stability and security."

The survey was completed in April 2015 by 1,125 foster carers about 1,608 children in their care.

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