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Foster Care

Question for Department for Education

UIN 93828, tabled on 15 December 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of foster care placements which have been unsuccessful in England in 2020-21 by region.

Answered on

6 January 2022

The department does not hold information on all adoption breakdowns. We do hold information on the numbers of children who return to care who had had a previous permanence arrangement.

Figures by region on the number of children who started to be looked after who had a previous permanence arrangement under an adoption order, are shown in the table. National figures are available in table C1 of the statistical release Children Looked After in England (including Adoption) year ending 31 March 2021 at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoptions.

National figures showing the reasons why a child changed placement from a fostering arrangement during a year are also available in the same statistical release in table B4 via the above link. The figures in the attached table show this breakdown by region.

There are many factors that contribute to instability and placements ending in an unplanned way. Since April 2015 we have been collecting the ‘reason for placement changes’ as part of the children looked after data return submitted by local authorities. This helps us to better understand why children move, at a national and local level. However, it is not possible to make a full interpretation of whether these placements were successful or not from the categories described.

Some placement moves are necessary, particularly when part of a plan to find a longer term or permanent home for a child. Planned moves are often in the best interests of the child - a first placement may be organised at short notice due to an emergency and may not be a perfect fit, or a child may need a short-term placement for specialist care.