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Number of children going missing from foster care rises by a third

More siblings being placed together

Ofsted's review of fostering in England from 1st April 2013 to 31st March 2014 has revealed that the number of instances of children going missing has continued to rise. There were 13,305 instances of children going missing during 2013-14; an increase of 36%. The large majority of this increase was attributed to children going missing in Independent Fostering Agencies (IFAs).

Missing instances were unevenly distributed across provision types. During the year 59% of missing instances were reported by IFAs, despite having 33% of children in placements.

Meanwhile, fostering capacity in England has increased. There were 81,190 fostering places in 42,490 fostering households (excluding short breaks) at 31 March 2014. Both the number of fostering places and households had increased by 6% compared to 31 March 2013.

There were more children in placements but occupancy decreased. There were 51,315 children in fostering placements on 31 March 2014, a 1% increase from the number in 2013. Of the approved places, this equated to an occupancy level of 63%; a three percentage point decrease.

More brothers and sisters were placed together. Placements commenced in 2013-14 for 11,790 brothers and sisters; a 16% increase from 2012-13. The large majority (69%) were placed together. This represented a three percentage point increase in the proportion of brothers and sisters being placed together.

The statistical release is here.