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Record numbers of children living in foster care

Figures published by the Department for Education this week have revealed there are now more than 50,000 children living with foster families in England on any given day.

The record number of 50,260 children is a 3.6% rise compared to 2011 - the sixth year in a row there has been an increase. Around 79% of children in care who are looked after away from home now live with foster carers.

Commenting on the figures, Vicki Swain, campaigns manager at the Fostering Network, said:

“With the number of children being looked after by foster carers continuing to rise year-on-year, recruiting more foster carers and ensuring they are properly paid and supported to provide the best possible care has to be the priority.”

Adoptions increased by 12% compared to 2011, while the number of children in care who found a permanent long term home through special guardianship orders rose by 20%.

Swain continued: “More children than ever are now being given long-term stability and security through special guardianship orders, while others grow up with foster carers. Recent Government policy and media analysis have focused very much on adoption, but this is not the best option for all children in need of permanent homes.

“We are calling on the Government to give equal weight to all options and to ensure we have a system that is best placed to meet the needs of all children who can no longer live with their birth family.”

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