Fostering Report 2022 Results

12th December, 2022

With the release of The Fostering in England Report 2022, one thing is certain, we are facing a carer shortage in the UK. A major finding of the report, conducted by the Office for National Statistics and Ofsted, is that capacity in mainstream fostering has been facing a downward trend since 2018.

Our Director of Quality for Foster Care UK, recently commented, “The findings in the report are reflective of what we ourselves have seen in our own numbers, a decline in people enquiring to become foster carers. The results are disconcerting, yet it does give me hope that if we work together as a nation, we can come together to continue to support society’s most vulnerable children. For us at Foster Care UK that means increasing our visibility locally, aiming to educate and empower people to chose fostering as a career if they can.”

We must ask why? as the report shows, has the number of applications fallen over the last five years?

With many of the people who make enquiries about becoming fosters carers not transforming into real applications, we need to examine the current climate to help us get to get to the answer. We faced a global pandemic with many people still feeling the effects. It is understandable that people might be more cautious about welcoming a new addition to their home, we also saw many people migrating to home working which has meant spare rooms converting into home offices. Add in an energy crisis, and a cost-of-living crisis and there are many reasons to hesitate.

However, we would encourage a shift in perspective, as all of those reasons are also contributing to more children needing substitute family care in a stable and supportive environment. There are many reasons as to why a child or young person needs alternative care, all without exception will have been through a lot. No one experience is the same for any looked after child, they might have endured a bereavement or family members taken ill. Every experience is unique in its own right.

Of course, prospective foster carer concerns are also valid and whilst there are some legitimate barriers, there are also many misconceptions. People often worry that they are too old or have concerns about their own children if they chose to foster. This is where Foster Care UK come in, to reassure and challenge those misconception. Indeed, we have no upper age limit as to who can foster, and we hear over and over again how mutually beneficial and enriching fostering can be for the wider family.

The report also highlights that foster carer retention is a key issue and more foster carers are leaving the profession than joining it, hence the decline in capacity. Jacci went on to say that “whilst at Foster Care UK, recruitment of new foster carers is important, retaining our current carers is just as, if not more, important. Foster carers are very special people, and we work hard to ensure that they are well looked after. Indeed, we have been fortunate to be able to increase our rates three times this year to ensure that our carers know that we are sensitive to the challenges of the current economic crisis. More than that, the support and training that we are able to offer is in my view second to none and, independent as we are, means we can invest much time and energy to ensure that our resources and support continue to reflect the incredible work that our foster carers continue to do.”

Conversely, the report refers to the use of Independent Fostering Agencies (IFA’s) such as Foster Care UK being on the rise, and this is much needed to support the growing need of providing diverse fostering households in order to meet the individual needs of children and young people.

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

Would you like to know more about fostering? Why not call today and speak to one of our friendly team on 0844 800 1941.

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