New statistics out today to mark the start of Barnardo’s Fostering and Adoption Week suggest that urgent attention needs to be paid to the care of older, vulnerable, children.
Nearly twelve thousand (43%) of all the children who entered care in England last year were aged 10 and over – this includes children as old as 16 and 17.1 The new figures reveal that of those children, a significant number – 80% – entered care for the first time.2
While there is considerable focus on placing babies and younger children, the needs of older children are being forgotten.3 There needs to be a range of placements so that the system works for all children.
The situation is particularly worrying as there is a general shortage of foster families across the UK, with at least 8,750 new foster families needing to be found within the next 12 months.4
Barnardo’s is urging more people to consider putting themselves forward as potential foster parents – particularly for older children.
Barnardo’s chief executive, Anne Marie Carrie, said: “All children deserve a loving home and older children need looking after just as much as infants and babies in order to thrive. We urgently need more people to consider becoming foster parents to children over the age of ten.
“We know from our experience that older children in care can need extra support. They need carers who can help them overcome emotional and behavioural difficulties, and provide much needed stability.
“We have seen many of the older children we work with blossom into healthy, happy, adults after being placed with the right foster family. Which is why I want to encourage more people to open their homes and their hearts to help to transform an older child’s life”.
Dee and George Collins have fostered 3 teenage girls during the last three years. Dee said: “Before I became a foster carer I didn’t realise how much support children need. But it didn’t faze me and I learned a lot from the first child I cared for. You realise that what you can do for these children can make a big impact on their lives.”
Barnardo’s wants to hear from anybody who is interested in finding out more about fostering and adoption. We will provide full training and support to potential foster carers, and do not exclude anyone from consideration on the grounds of sexual orientation, race, marital status, gender, disability or employment status.
To find out more about fostering and adoption, call 08000 277 280 or visit www.barnardos.org.uk/fosteringandadoption.
Notes to Editors
This press notice applies to England.
Case studies are available for interview.
Barnardo’s chief executive, Anne Marie Carrie, is available for interview.
Images are available on request.
1. Source: Department for Education (28 Sept 2011). Statistical First Release, Children Looked After in England (including adoption and care leavers) year ending 31 March 2011. The total number of children entering care last year (year ending March 2011) was 27,310. Of these, nearly 43% (11,690 children) were older than 10.
2. 9,400 children (80.41%) aged over 10 entered care for the first time last year. Source: new data from the Department for Education in January 2012.
3 Some children have needs that have not previously been met, or issues that manifest themselves later in the teenage years.
4. Source: Fostering Network (December 2011): http://www.fostering.net/media/2011/crisis-looms-foster-care-in-2012
5. Barnardo’s works with more than 190,000 children, young people and their families in over 800 specialised projects in communities across the UK, and has particular expertise in finding homes for children that are the hardest to place. Every year we help thousands of children turn their lives around. But we cannot do it without you. Visit www.barnardos.org.uk to find out how you can get involved and show you believe in children.