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 2018. Key figures include:
- There were 87,120 approved fostering places as at 31 March 2018, an increase of 1% on the previous year, but filled places increased more than approved places resulting in a decrease in vacant places (17,150 vacant places on 31 March 2018, compared to 17,980 the previous year).
- There were 43,475 approved fostering households as at 31 March 2018, a 1% decrease on the previous year.
- 117,335 initial enquiries were received in 2017-18, compared to 114,425 in 2016-17, an increase of 3% (down 3% in the LA sector and up 5% in the IFA sector), and applications rose by 11%.
- 53,040 children and young people were in fostering placements at 31 March 2018, 1000 more than the previous year. 66% were in LA fostering places and 34% were placed through IFAs, in line with 2017 figures.
The commentary document and dataset can be downloaded from the Gov.uk website.