In our follow up to our recent blog on the importance of tracking statistics in relation to fostering children; and how important it is to analyse current trends – here are some further figures to digest. It is key that; in the year of the national fostering stocktake, close attention is paid to the numbers that tell the underlying story of what is impacting on fostering children. There will undoubtedly be many changes put in place as a result of this landmark inquiry. There has also been much done this year around fostering children, as part of the Mockingbird Family Model work – now being tested by several local authorities. 2017 will be one of the most important years in recent times in relation to the way fostering service provision will be planned and delivered in the future.
Ensuring fostering children and young people is approached with the goal of ensuring placement stability, has to be the way forward. There is too much evidence showing repeated placement breakdowns have the most adverse impact on successful outcomes. Fostering children effectively is something we have a collective responsibility for as the social costs of failure are becoming prohibitive. We have to get on top of the problem, as resources are going to be even more strained in the coming years. This is due to the escalating costs of social care, caused by the demographic pressures of an ageing population. With this looming imbalance in the population, i.e. the increasing proportion of elderly people to the young, we need to see all children as a hugely important resource. For the good of everyone, we need to ensure that they succeed and live productive lives. Fostering children so that they can thrive has to be supported and financial corners can no longer be cut. This means that the role and status of foster carers must be seen in a way that ensures they feel valued. Their contribution has to be recognised by us all. The national fostering stocktake may well determine that organisational changes are much needed; as important will be decisions made about how foster carers can be made to feel genuinely valued. Not getting this right, will have serious consequences in terms of future recruitment. It is a fact that many people become interested in fostering children because they know someone who is fostering. ‘Word of Mouth’ can be enormously important in the recruitment process. Good news travels fast, but, sadly bad news travels faster. Whatever else comes out of the stocktake, it is going to be important that we generate a lot of positive news stories about fostering children. We need to enthuse a new generation of carers who will be motivated and excited about the rewards fostering children can bring.
A recent report compiled in 2016 by charities working in the children’s care sector drew some important conclusions. Entitled ‘Losing in the Long Run’, confirmation was made that government for early intervention services is now expected to be cut by a massive 71%. this will result in a reduction from £3.2bn to less than £1bn that will be available between the years 2010 and 2020. This leaves no room for confusing hyperbole. We can all imagine the difference a reduction of £2.2bn is likely to make.
Key facts: Private Fostering
1,560 children were reported to local authorities (LA’s) as being cared for and accommodated within private fostering arrangements at March 31st 2015 – this compares with 1,610 in 2014;
2,740 new private fostering arrangements commenced during the year ending March 31st 2015 representing an overall increase from 1,420 in 2007;
2,770 private fostering arrangements were reported to have ended during the year ending March 31st 2015: this reflects a steady increase over a period of 9 years from 1,040 in 2007.
Those Awaiting Adoption
3,310 children had received an adoption decision, but were not yet placed at September 30th 2015: this was down from 3,690 at June 30th 2015;
2,060 children had received a placement order for adoption, but were not yet placed at September 30th 2015, this was down from 2,510 at June 30th 2015.
Harder to Place Children
1,750 (71%) of the children with a placement order waiting to be put into placement at June 30th 2015 were judged “harder to place” as compared with 2,050 73% at 31 March 31st 2015 . This means the child is fills any of the following criteria – five years or over, disabled, BME, or a member of a sibling group.
1,190 (48%) of the children with a placement order waiting for a placement at June 30th 2015 formed part of a sibling group compared to 1,420 (51%) at March 31st 2015.
The Waiting times
3,780 (71%) of children that were placed for adoption within a year of an agency decision that the child should be placed for adoption during the year ending March 31st 2015.
Analysis showed that the average time between a child entering care and then joining its adopted family for those adopted was 533 days in the year 2014-15.
2,800 (53%) of children adopted during the year ending March 31st 2015 were males and 47% 2,530 (47%) were females.
Adoptions placed from Care
5,330 children were adopted from care during the year ending March 31st 2015 as compared to 5,050 in the year 2014.
4,400 (83%) of looked after children adopted during the year ending 31st March 2015 were white;
580 (11%) were of mixed racial background;
120 (2%) were Black or Black British;
90 (2%) were Asian or Asian British;
100 (2%) were other – refused or information not yet available;
50 (1%) were from other ethnic groups.
it was found that the average age at adoption in the year that ended March 31st 2015 was 3 years 3 months. This was two months younger than in the year 2014.
230 (4%) of children adopted during the year ending 31st March 2015 were aged under 1;
4,050 (76%) were aged between 1 and 4 years;
990 (19%) were aged between 5 and 9 years;
60 (1%) were aged between 10 and 15 years;
To the nearest ten, it was found that none were aged 16 and over.
Rainbow Rewards – something for anyone who wants to foster to consider
We provide dedicated support for our approved foster carers twenty four hours a day all year round. Currently, at Rainbow Fostering we are making available a £500 bonus if you can provide us with a referral. This bonus will be paid direct to you, when the person referred has been successfully approved and have had their first foster placement from Rainbow. Remember also, if you are already an approved foster carer perhaps thinking of transferring to us, our Fostering Transfer Services will manage everything in a smoothly and efficiently. Transferring to Rainbow, may also mean you are in line for a generous bonus. Please call our foster recruitment advisors on 020 8427 3355 to learn more about the advantages of joining Rainbow Fostering.
Remember: over 9,000 new foster families needed in 2017.
Our good news at the end of this weeks foster care rainbow…our programme of summer events is out there having been put together by our Youth Participation Officer: please get back to us with your availability.
Rainbow fostering: this week in the news – read all about it!
Survey reveals more Americans are considering children in foster care when looking to adopt
July 26th, 2017
Just as in the UK, a great many foster children in the US suffer from repeated moves from foster placements. This makes it very difficult to settle and can have adverse effects on educational achievement. (cont)