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Conversion rate of completed foster carer applications to approvals decreases

Staying put numbers down on a year ago

Ofsted has published Fostering in England statistics for the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.

There were fewer actual places for children because there were more places that were 'not available'. As at 31 March 2017, there were 83,930 approved fostering places, representing a 1% increase on the previous year (83,175). The proportion that were filled increased from 61% to 62% but the proportion that were 'not available' also increased, from 16% (13,000) to 18% (15,520).

The number of approved fostering households continued to decrease steadily. There were 43,710 approved fostering households as at 31 March 2017, a 1% decrease from last year (44,320). The overall number has decreased by 2% since March 2014 (44,780).

The number of approved family and friends households continued to increase. There was an 11% increase in the number of family and friends (including 'connected person') households from 5,985 on 31 March 2016 to 6,615 this year. This was the fourth consecutive year of increased numbers of this type of household.

More applications were considered this year but conversion of completed applications to approvals decreased. There was an increase of 9% in applications considered during 2016 to 2017 compared with last year, from 11,460 to 12,455, with a similar proportion completed. However, the conversion rate of completed applications to approvals decreased from 57% to 49%.

A smaller proportion of foster carers than of fostered children were from minority ethnic groups. As at 31 March 2017, 24% of fostered children were from minority ethnic groups, compared with 14% of all foster carers.

A smaller proportion of young people who turned 18 during the year were staying put. The proportion of young people staying put with their foster family after turning 18 during the year decreased by eight percentage points in comparison with last year – 46% (1,570) stayed put in 2016 to 2017 compared with 54% (2,190) in 2015 to 2016. In LA foster families 52% of young people stayed put; in IFA foster families 38% stayed put.

Children with at least one unplanned ending were more likely to have persistent school absence. Thirteen percent of children who experienced at least one unplanned ending had persistent school absence in comparison with 5% of children with no unplanned endings. The rate of persistent school absence increased to 19% for children who experienced at least one unplanned ending and at least one educational placement change.

For the full report, click here.

6/4/18