Fostering In England Report 2022 Results

Fostering in England Report 2022

12th December, 2022

The Fostering in England Report conducted by Ofsted and the Office for National Statistics was released in early November, one of the main findings was that the capacity of mainstream fostering provision has decreased in numbers since 2018. A fact that we have long suspected: we are facing a major foster carer shortage in the UK.

Capstone Foster Care’s Director of Quality, Jacci Kirkland commented, “We have seen the declining numbers reflected in the amount of people enquiring to becoming foster carers. However, as troubling as this is, we are all in this together and it is an issue which the UK must address to ensure that vulnerable young people receive the care they need. As an organisation we want to take these findings and learn how better to educate and encourage the general public so that they begin to consider fostering as a stimulating and hugely rewarding career choice”

The report shows a downward trend in applications for fostering in the last five years with a large number of enquiries not converting into solid applications. So, why the decrease? One reason might be that people are more cautious in a post pandemic world about inviting others into their home or may no longer have a spare room due to the national migration to home working. Add into the mix an energy crisis and a cost-of-living crisis, it is the perfect storm for people to not want to take any chances.

Some of these reasons could be one and the same as to why we are seeing more vulnerable children in need of substitute family care and a stable home. Our children come from all types of backgrounds and have often been through so much. Some have been affected by deaths in the family or sudden illness and many other reasons which have impacted on their lives.

There are also misconceptions about requirements to foster, for example being too old. Here at Capstone, there is no upper age limit, in fact some of our active, long standing foster carers are in their sixties and seventies. Another reason is that it may negatively impact your own children, when it can, in fact, be beneficial and enriching to their own growth and can often lead them to caring professions of their own.

The report goes on to note the rising use of Independent Fostering Agencies (IFA), such as Capstone, with Local Authorities struggling to cope with the level of demand on their own, and the needs for an ever growing diversity of households that are needed to meet the individual needs of children and young people.

You can read more about the reasons why people may choose an independent agency over local authority in Patrick & Sebastian’s story.

It is worth noting that the report highlights that the decrease in numbers of registered foster carers in England is due to the number of foster carers leaving services surpassing those who are signing up.

Jacci goes on to say that “at Capstone we recognise that it is not just about recruiting new carers, our focus must equally be on looking after those who foster with us whom we are continuously supporting and listening to. We are proud to have been able to raise our carer rates three times in this last year, which is unheard of, but vital in recognising the current cost of living crisis. I am also passionate that we continue to provide some of the very best training, support and resources for our carers and children, which in my view cannot be surpassed. Equally, we are determined not stagnant and will always strive to fully value and support our carers to ensure they continue with the vital work that they do.”

If you would like to read the full report it can be found here.

If you would like to know more about fostering and whether it is the right time for you to start your fostering journey please do call one of our friendly team today on 0800 012 4004.

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