There has been an increase in the number of both approved fostering households and children in foster care. On 31 March 2019, there were 44,450 fostering households, a 2% increase compared with 31 March 2018. In the same period, there has been a 3% increase in the number of children in foster care. There were almost 55,000 children and young people placed with foster carers on 31 March 2019.
There has been a decrease in the number of unoccupied places, available for children to be placed into. Although the number of approved fostering places has increased by 1% since 31 March 2018, the number of children entering foster care has increased at a faster pace (3%). This means that there were fewer places available for children to be placed in on 31 March 2019 than the same date in 2018.
IFAs have a greater proportion of foster carers from non-White ethnic groups than in the LA sector. On 31 March 2019, 21% of all carers in IFAs were from non-White ethnic groups, compared with 12% of carers in LAs. During 2018 to 2019, 24% of newly approved carers in IFAs were from non-White ethnic groups, compared with 10% of new carers in LAs.
The gap between young people Staying Put in LAs and IFAs continues to exist. Despite the gap between the percentage of young people Staying Put in LAs and IFAs closing slightly this year, it remains substantial at 16 percentage points.
The proportion of unplanned endings to placements that resulted in the child moving within 24 hours has increased. During 2018 to 2019, around 5,800 children and young people experienced unplanned endings. Of these children and young people, 31% were moved within 24 hours. This is an increase of 6 percentage points compared with the previous year, and 10 percentage points from 2016 to 2017.
Of all missing children, almost 1 in 5 were missing for over 1 week in total. In 2018 to 2019, of the 6,395 children who went missing, 19% (1,190) were missing for over 1 week in total.
You can read the full release from the ONS here.