The number of children in care has risen at its fastest rate in five years while the number of children being adopted continues to fall, official figures have revealed.
Department for Education statistics released today show that for the year ending 31 March 2017 the number of looked after children rose by 3.2 per cent in the space of 12 months.
The figures show there were 72,670 children in care in the 12 months to the end of March 2017, compared with 70,440 the year before and 69,480 in 2015.
The 3.2 per cent increase is the largest in five years, since the figure jumped from 65,510 in 2011 to 67,070 in 2012, a rise of 4.1 per cent.
In addition, the proportion of children in care has risen to the highest level on record. Currently, 62 out of every 10,000 children are in care. The figure had remained at 60 since 2013. The lowest figure in recent history was in 2008, when 54 out of every 10,000 children were in care.
Meanwhile, the number of children being placed for adoption continues to fall, with the end of March 2017 figure of 4,350 down on the previous 12 months' figure of 4,690 and markedly down on 2015's tally of 5,360.
Adoption Leadership Board figures released last month also showed a fall in the number of children being adopted as well as the number of adoption orders being granted by the courts.
The statistics published by the DfE also chart a rise in the number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in care, up six per cent to 4,560 in the 12 months to the end of March 2017 from 4,300 over the same period the previous year.
Over the last five years the number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in care has more than doubled from the 2013 figure of 1,950 and the proportion of looked-after children who are unaccompanied asylum-seekers now stands at six per cent, after being at three per cent since 2013.
It has also been revealed that the number of children leaving care has fallen for the first time since 2008. There were 31,250 children who ceased to be looked-after in the 12 months to the end of March 2017, a fall of two per cent on 2016.
Dr Carol Homden, chief executive of children's charity Coram said the rise in the number of children in care highlighted the importance of recruiting more foster carers and adopters.
"Over the last few years, many children waiting for adoption have been placed in the families they need," she said.
"What appears to be a fall [in the number of adoptions taking place] is therefore part of an underlying success. But certainly we need to do more to ensure that children have the same chances no matter where they live."
"The continued rise in the number of children who are looked-after demonstrates the need for prospective foster carers and adopters to come forward. These are the people who change the lives of this vulnerable group of children."
Jeremy Corbyn took time out from his party’s conference to start making pizzas with a care leaver who is being supported by Barnardo’s.
As the pair chopped their vegetables, the Labour leader listened as care leaver Tyrone explained how the UK’s largest children’s charity is helping him get his life on track.
The 20-year-old talked about how he used to be in foster care and introduced Corbyn to Matt and Jude, his lodging hosts in the Barnardo’s supported lodging service.
With their help he is learning to live more independently by learning essential life skills and has secured a weekend job in a café.
"It's been great meeting Jeremy Corbyn. It's good to know that someone who has such influence cares."
The Barnardo's supported lodging providers have given me so much and allowed me to focus on my future.
Living with Jude and Matt feels like home now. I feel very happy here."
Barnardo's Chief Executive Javed Khan accompanied the party's leader on the visit and explained how the charity supports more than 272,000 children, young people, parents and carers like Tyrone to have fulfilling lives.
Javed Khan said:
"I am delighted Jeremy Corbyn was able to find time in his busy conference schedule to hear how Barnardo’s supports the UK’s most vulnerable children and young people.
We strive to transform their lives so they can lead positive futures and I think this really hit home for the Labour leader when he spoke to Tyrone, who is an inspirational young man."
Young people leaving care have often had difficult and troubled starts in life, so it’s vital they receive the support they so desperately need to enable them to achieve their dreams."
The Brighton and Hove Supported Lodgings service was started in 2015 with the aim of supporting young people who may be homeless or leaving the care system. Together with Barnardo’s, hosts offer a room in their home to help each vulnerable young person make a smooth transition into independent living.
Barnardo’s are looking for individuals or families to open their doors and provide safe and secure homes for 16 to 21 year-olds. Hosts receive round-the-clock assistance, a dedicated key worker, a comprehensive training programme and an allowance of £150 per week.
Hosts come from a variety of backgrounds. Some work full-time, some work part-time and some are retired. All have spare time to offer emotional care and practical advice to help a young person build their confidence.
For more information about becoming a Supported Lodgings host, call 01273 412010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Member News - Young People at Heart are recruiting a social worker and Form F assessors in Herefordshire
Dave Bailey, Fostering Manager at our new Young People at Heart office in Hereford, has experienced an unprecedented amount of interest from foster carers wishing to transfer to Young People at Heart from a number of other fostering organisations in the region, as well as applications from people wishing to become foster carers.
Dave said the not-for-profit ethos of Young People at Heart, together with our ability to provide local support, training and activities for foster carers and young people, was a huge attraction and he looked forward to welcoming more enquiries from prospective Young People at Heart foster carers, whether they were new to fostering or experienced carers wanting to transfer to the organisation.
In order to support the huge level of interest in joining Young People at Heart in the Herefordshire region, Dave said the organisation was looking to bring forward the appointment of a supervising social worker to January 2018. He invited applications from suitably qualified individuals via the link below to our recruitment partner, TOP Recruitment:
Supervising Social Worker – Herefordshire
Dave also said he would like to appoint more Form F assessors to the Herefordshire Young People at Heart family and he again invited applications from suitable qualified candidates through the following link:
Form F assessors – Herefordshire and surrounding counties
Gary Cox, who founded Young People at Heart with his wife Davina, said they were both delighted with Dave’s appointment and the immediate impact he was having on the fostering provision in Herefordshire and surrounding counties. Gary said it was a testament to Dave’s practice that a number of foster carers from his previous for-profit, venture capital backed foster care employer had contacted Young People at Heart requesting to follow Dave but added that he was equally pleased they had received enquiries from foster carers for other organisations who wanted to be supported locally and that he was particularly excited that Dave was receiving enquiries from applicants new to fostering.
Following ‘news’ that two refugees connected with the Parsons Green tube bombing had been in foster care, TACT is concerned that some may use this as an excuse to demonise vulnerable refugee and asylum-seeking children.
Andy Elvin, Chief Executive of TACT urges those considering caring for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children not to be deterred by the media attention around the case’s links with fostering.
Andy said: ” This case is very unusual and in no way representative of the thousands of considerate and community-minded unaccompanied young people in foster care across the UK. I hope that people are not put off coming forward to become foster carers for refugee children or vulnerable UK children.”
TACT’s experience is that unaccompanied asylum-seeking children tend to be grateful for the opportunities offered and highly value the education and care they receive. Many go on to make a very positive contribution to UK society.
TACT foster carer Val Smith is among many who have found fostering young refugees very rewarding. She has looked after a succession of boys, mostly from Afghanistan, who have all thrived in her care and gone on to useful and productive lives.
Val said: “I feel so lucky that I was given the opportunity to care for and help asylum seeking boys. I choose to foster them because they do not have anyone else to care for them and they really appreciate all the help they are given. I am extremely proud of all they have achieved. And they are all appalled by terrorism”.
Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are deserving of our love, support, care and compassion. It should be noted that the overwhelming majority of recent terror attacks have been carried out by men born in the UK who grew up in their birth families.
Andy Elvin said: “TACT cannot understand why the media felt it was appropriate to publicise the identities of the selfless foster carers who have opened their home to so many vulnerable children over the years. It is unfair and not in the public interest.”
You can read more from Andy on this subject in the Guardian by clicking here.
We don’t need more demonising headlines about fostering, we need more foster carers, says Javed Khan of Barnardo’s, while Mike Stein points out that with proper support fostered children make good progress from poor starting points
Dawn Foster is, sadly, right when she writes that fostering tends to appear in the news for negative reasons (It’s hard enough as a foster child without being demonised, Opinion, 21 September).
When a troubled young person falls into the justice system, the implication is sometimes made that fostering could be part of the cause. What is forgotten is that these young people have often already suffered trauma or been at risk of harm – which is precisely why they need fostering.
Foster children are vulnerable, and can be challenging, but with the right support they can have fulfilling and positive futures. However, there are 81,000 children in care in the UK, and not enough foster carers to look after them. Without enough loving homes these children risk being moved around. Barnardo’s recruits foster carers for teenagers, disabled children, siblings and children from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. But we urgently need more to come forward.
We view our relationship with our carers as a partnership, offering continued support, training and advice for as long as it is needed.
Our foster carers are amazing people. They open up their hearts and homes to children who have often had a tough start in life. We see first-hand how the support of a stable, caring family really can transform children’s lives.
• Dawn Foster is right to argue that the foster care system should not be dismissed in light of events at Tower Hamlets or the Parsons Green arrests. There is robust evidence from studies that where young people are provided with stability and opportunities for attachment, helped to overcome educational deficits, leave care at a similar age as young people leave home in the general population, and are provided with personal and practical assistance into adulthood, they make good progress from very poor starting points. When local authorities fail to respond to these challenges they let both foster carers and the young people they care for down.
Emeritus professor, University of York
Closing Date Monday 16 October at 9am
Team Fostering is a not for profit fostering Agency, with an annual turnover of £9m, based in the North East, Yorkshire and the East Midlands. We have been successfully supporting children and young people living in foster care to achieve positive outcomes since 2001.
We are looking for a fourth Non-Executive Director, based within this geographical footprint, who has knowledge, experience and expertise as a current or ex-Foster Carer to bring into the Board of Team Fostering. Alongside a foster carer perspective, we wish to recruit someone with business ability and experience to bring to the Board.
This successful candidate will also provide a creative contribution to the Board via objective criticism and independent judgement on issues of strategy, performance and resourcing of the Agency, including involvement in key appointments and standards of conduct. The post holder will be independent of any of the company’s interested parties and bring a degree of objectivity and impartiality to the Board’s deliberations and play a valuable role monitoring executive management.
This is a part time role requiring, as a minimum, 30 days' work per year and a minimum of 1.5 days worked each month. Part of this monthly commitment is attendance at a monthly Board meeting in the North East. An annual retainer is paid of £3,143 and other responsibilities and pieces of work taken on at the direction of the Board are paid at an hourly rate of £56.86. The details of the role and responsibilities are set out in the job description and person specification.
The closing date for application for this role is on the Monday 16 October 2017 and interviews are scheduled for Friday 3 November 2017.
For further information, please ring Jane Butler, Chief Executive Officer, on 07769 908 129 or Walter Young, Non-Executive Director on 07508 055643.
An information pack can be downloaded below here
Please note Team Fostering does not accept CVs.
All posts are subject to Enhanced DBS Disclosure.
Please note if you are shortlisted for interview we will contact you via the email you have provided. Please ensure you check your emails regularly.
Minister for Children and Families appoints a new National Implementation Advisor for care leavers
A new adviser to support young people as they leave the care system has been appointed as part of the government’s drive to improve the lives of vulnerable children.
Mark Riddell MBE has been appointed as the National Implementation Adviser for care leavers, and will work closely with local authorities as they drive forward the new duties introduced through the Children & Social Work Act (2017).
The role includes helping councils to develop a stronger local offer of support for care leavers, offering Personal Adviser services for all care leavers up to age 25 and delivering on their special responsibilities as a ‘corporate parent’ – principles set out in the Act.
He will have a particular focus on supporting those councils that have had their leaving care services rated as inadequate or requiring improvement by Ofsted.
Robert Goodwill, Minister for Children and Families, said:
Young people leaving care are one of the most vulnerable groups in society and we are determined that they should get the high quality support they need to help them make the transition into adulthood.
I am delighted that Mark has taken up this post and look forward to working closely with him as we continue our drive to improve the experiences and outcomes of care leavers across the country.
Mark Riddell MBE said:
I am delighted to be offered the post and am passionate about improving support for care leavers. Young people leaving care face many challenges as they prepare for independence, and crucial to making that transition successful is the support from their ‘corporate parents’, the local authority.
I look forward to the challenge of working with these councils as they bring in the positive changes introduced by the Children & Social Work Act.
Mr Riddell brings with him a wealth of experience working with care leavers. Prior to accepting this position he was the leaving care manager in Trafford, the first local authority judged by Ofsted to have Outstanding care leaver services.
He also acted as an informal adviser to the Department for Education on the development of the care leaver strategy, which sets out the additional support provided by local and central government to help care leavers succeed.
Celebration of Break's young people at the Forum, Norwich
23 young people who are looked after by Break attended a celebration of their achievements at The Forum in Norwich on Friday evening.
Each young person received an award – recognising achievements such as 100% school attendance, sporting prowess (football, rugby, swimming) and taking positive steps towards independence.
The awards were presented by Farooq Chaudhry. Mr Chaudhry is internationally known for his work as a dancer and now as a producer. Farooq inspired the young people by encouraging them to live their dreams and be courageous – reassuring them that they could achieve what they set their minds on.
Cathy Kenney, Head of Service Delivery at Break charity said “I felt privileged to be a part of the evening and to see how resilient and brave the young people we look after are. Each day they work so hard to overcome their difficulties and achieve so much – these young people are some of the strongest people in our communities and have so much to offer. These awards are just a tiny acknowledgement of their everyday achievements”.
Farooq Chaudhry and Cathy Kenney, Head of Service Delivery at Break
The event was the idea of the Hyland family who funded the awards. Linda Hyland was employed by Break before sadly passing away. Her family recognised the value of the work that Linda did in changing young lives and wanted to continue to support the young people looked after by Break.
The Beeston Group kindly paid for the venue and refreshments and for Farooq to attend.
The Adolescent and Children’s Trust (TACT) has been rated as Outstanding by Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) for its fostering service in the South West of England. That is the highest valuation that Ofsted can bestow on a fostering service.
Ofsted described TACT’s ‘highly effective service’ and outcomes for their looked after children as ‘better than those of children and young people receiving a similar service elsewhere, and that it helps them to prepare for their eventual independence and increases their life chances.’
TACT was lauded for its support of its foster carers, with Ofsted reporting that ‘all carers receive high quality therapeutic and social work support, beyond what would normally be expected. This, together with bespoke training, has a direct positive impact on the children and young people because it helps to sustain those who are struggling with their behaviour in their placements.’
Scott Ruddock, TACT Executive Director of Children’s Services said: ”We are delighted by the praise received from Ofsted for the work of our South West fostering service, and the outstanding grade given. This has been achieved by the hard work and remarkable dedication of our staff. And Ofsted found our foster carers to be very skilled and well supported, resulting in the children they look after being happy, healthy and developing well.”
There are thousands of children in the South West who cannot be looked after by their own family. This could be because of illness or family breakdowns or because they have experienced some form of neglect. TACT is actively looking for foster carers across the South West to provide care and support to these children.
If you have a spare bedroom, a caring nature and energy to provide a child with a happy home, we believe you could become an amazing foster carer!
We particularly want to hear from prospective carers in Bath, Bristol, Somerset, North Somerset, Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire.
We would ideally like to hear from people who would like to care for children aged five years and over, sibling groups or children with complex needs.
If you want to know more about fostering please call us on 0330 123 2250.
Children's charity Barnardo's finds 65% of young care leavers with mental health issues get no support from government
Two thirds of young people leaving care with mental health problems are not getting any help at all from a statutory service, according to a new study by Barnardo’s.
The children’s charity report lays bare the scale of the struggles faced by young people as they set out on their own in the adult world.
The new research indicates almost half of England’s 26,340 care leavers are suffering from at least one mental health issue.
With one in four facing a mental health crisis after leaving care, charity bosses say the shortfall in appropriate support has become striking.
“Our research shows a shocking picture of care leavers in need with no access to suitable mental health support,” said Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan.
"The Government must ensure these vulnerable young people receive the support they so desperately need"
Many looked after youngsters in local authority care leave at 18, though some stay with foster families until the age of 21.
Khan said care leavers experience problems ranging from anxiety to the trauma of dealing with a legacy of abuse or neglect.
“The Government must ensure these vulnerable young people receive the support they so desperately need when it honours its pledge to improve children’s mental health,” he said.
Barnardo’s is calling on the government to invest some of the £1.4 billion earmarked to improve children’s mental health on youngsters leaving the care system.
The charity wants a mental health worker working within every local authority leaving care team, extra training for all care services staff, and specific services tailored to people into their early 20s.
Councillor Richard Watts, who chairs the young people board for the Local Government Association, said “councils are working hard to help those that need care and support to receive it.”
Watts said it was Whitehall’s responsibility to release more money for the system.
“Government must support this vital work by ensuring that the promised £250 million for (local authority) mental health and wellbeing services is released in full, with greater transparency in how mental health funding is spent,” he said
Watts also called on the government to plug the growing funding gap for wider children’s services, projected to reach £2 billion by 2020.
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