How Many Children are in Foster Care? | Lorimer Fostering

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How many children are in foster care?

How Many Children are in Foster Care?

People who decide to take the step and become approved Foster Carers do so for a wide variety of reasons, with the vast majority being purely altruistic. 

There are some who, prior to contacting Lorimer Fostering, have done some research of their own into children in care, and one of the things that we often hear is that the scale of the care system is largely a sad surprise. 

We have compiled for you here some of the statistics related to children and young people in care; understanding the desperate need for Foster Carers from all backgrounds really does bring into focus the outstanding work already being done. 

  • Over 64,000 children are living with almost 55,000 foster families in the UK 
  • Every year since 2010, the total number of looked after children has increased.  
  • Around 52,500 of the 64,000 children in care in the UK currently live with foster families and the vast majority of them will spend their whole childhoods in foster care. 
  • It’s estimated that a further 9,000 foster families are needed to ensure all fostered children can live with a suitable family for them. 

(Source: National statistics: Fostering in England 2020 to 2021) 

Where is the biggest need? 

The number of referrals that Lorimer Fostering receive from local authorities across the UK varies from week to week. However, one fact which is consistent is that young people aged over 10 are the most likely to be seeking a Foster home. 

In fact, more than 26,000 children fall into this age group. They are often perceived as harder to care for, more likely to abscond, more likely to engage in risky behaviours and less likely to engage with the family they are placed with. While these things may sometimes be the case, we can assure you that by no means is this always the case – which in turn means that many young people may be missing out on the opportunity to live in a nurturing family because of these negative associations. 

Research suggests that: 

  • 25% (or one in four) fostered teenagers are living with at least their fourth family in care. 
  • 17% (or one in six) are living with their fifth. 
  • 1 in 20 with their 10th family. 
  • More boys currently make up the looked after children than girls, with a 55% to 45% ratio. 

At this significant and difficult time in their lives, a child needs clear guidance and support. Without this, it’s easy for them to slip into bad behaviours and lifestyles. It’s also common for their schoolwork and academic performance to be damaged. 

When we consider what we know about being a teenager, it is devastating that so many young people are living transient, uncertain futures on top of trying to find their place and path. 

Could you provide a more permanent, stable environment for one of these children? 

Foster care provides children with a safe, secure and nurturing family environment. With record numbers of children in care and more than 12% of the Foster Carer workforce retiring or leaving year on year, the UK is in desperate need for more Foster Carers. 

Foster Caring is a challenging but very rewarding vocation. Many of the children and young people in care have experienced high levels of trauma by the time they reach this age; and need supportive and compassionate carers. It’s amazing the difference an empathetic, loving family environment can make to a child of this age. 

Get in Touch 

If you would like to learn more about becoming a Foster Carer then please get in touch for a chat. You can call or WhatsApp Rachael on 07938 575 738 or submit your details using the form below and we will call you back. We recruit Foster Carers from all across the North West, and we would love to hear from you!  


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