On Thursday of last week the Department for Education published a report under the title of Children looked after in England including adoptions which can be obtained from here. The number of children being looked after is the largest number to date based on the data which begins in 1994 when 47,590 children were being looked after and the number of them has now reached 80,850. There has been one period when the numbers actually reduced modestly but there have been several times when increases have been significant such as from 1997-2000. The numbers then remained relatively similar from 2001-2004 and actually dropped down from 2005-2008 which was very significant. However sadly they dramatically increased in 2010 and 2012 and again in 2017-2020 and although this years increase was much more modest, there are 850 more children involved than was the case in 2020. Along with that DfE report there is also a very helpful article which was written by Fiona Simpson in the CYP Now magazine under the headline of NUMBER OF CHILDREN IN CARE AT HIGHEST LEVEL ON RECORD, LATEST FIGURES SHOW. She helpfully included the following comments from the two voices whose images are shown above. The MP who has raised many issues in our Parliament in consideration of children and families, Robert Halfon spoke in the educational select committee on children’s homes that he chairs and he said “the number of children in care had increased by 25 per cent over the last decade” which indicates that during the time his Party has been in Government a massive challenge has arisen and it would seem that we need a great deal more attention to be focused on this. That said the increase has been nearly 35% over the last 12 years so Robert needs to perhaps refer to that number. The other person indicated above is Dr Sue Armstrong-Brown, who is the CE of Adoption UK and she said that the drop in adoption levels has risked vulnerable children facing
“multiple moves to different homes and a high level of uncertainty” which can “pile trauma on top of trauma… To get the best outcomes for children who wait the longest in care, we need courts who are confident the right families can be found, social workers who are confident about making good matches and adopters who are confident they will be well supported after they adopt. There are challenges at all these levels, which the government’s new National Adoption Strategy needs to help address”
According to the CYP article two other people have also raised their comments who are Michelle Lee-Izu who is Barnardo’s interim co-chief executive who said the rise in the number of children in care was partly due to “family breakdowns and other issues faced by children during the pandemic such as mental health issues, special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and families just not coping” and Charlotte Ramsden, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, added that local authorities “had become better at identifying children who are vulnerable, recognising their needs and bringing them into care appropriately” Let is hope that the Government’s new National Adoption Strategy which involves one of my friends along with other protection elements will emerge to address the various issues that have led to a 70% increase in the last 27 years.