Ofsted has released its latest annual dataset on fostering provision in both local authority and independent fostering services in England for the year ending 31 March 2019. Key figures include:
- There were 88,370 approved fostering places as at 31 March 2019, an increase of 1.4% on the previous year, but filled places increased at a faster pace resulting in a decrease in vacant places (16,080 vacant places at 31 March 2019, compared to 17,150 the previous year).
- There were 44,450 approved fostering households as at 31 March 2018, a 2.2% decrease on the previous year.
- 127,850 initial enquiries were received in 2018-19, compared to 117,335 in 2017-18, an increase of 8.9% (up 4% in the LA sector and 11% in the IFA sector), but applications dropped by 7.6% (9,740 in 2018-19 compared to 10,540 in 2017-18).
- 54,870 children and young people were in fostering placements at 31 March 2019, compared to 53,040 the previous year (an increase of 3.5%). Of these children, 65% were in LA fostering places and 35% were placed through IFAs, which continues the trend seen since 2015.
Further details are available here >