Approved foster carer numbers down and fewer children adopted in Scotland, figures show

The number of foster carers in Scotland has fallen, figures show.

The fostering and adoption statistical report for 2021-22 from the Care Inspectorate shows there were 3,415 approved foster care households in December 2021 – down 3.5% on the number in 2020.

The Care Inspectorate said that continued falls seen in the previous two years.

A total of 406 foster care households de-registered last year.

The report also shows that the number of children and young people in foster care has decreased, with 5,315 using the foster system in 2017 and 4,344 doing so as of December 2021.

A quarter of family groups placed in foster care households were placed separately in 2021/22 due to emergency situations and lack of resources, the report said.

It found 70% of services have difficulties finding households that will take family groups of children.

Meanwhile, 209 children were approved for adoption in the last year, 199 children were placed with their new adoptive families and 189 were legally adopted.

The Care Inspectorate said all of these figures were down on previous years.

Almost half of the children approved for adoption were in the two to five age bracket and 45% were infants under two.

Between 2017 and 2020, the number of new households approved for adoption decreased, but 268 new adoptive households were approved in 2021-22 – 36 more than in 2020, according to the report.

Jackie Irvine, chief executive at the Care Inspectorate, said: “This report provides insight into the operation of fostering and adoption services in Scotland over the past five years, and for the first time includes continuing care.

“Foster care and adoption services are vital for assessing, approving and supporting foster carers and the recruitment and assessment of prospective adoptive parents to care for some of our most vulnerable children.

“Children who are placed away from their home require high-quality care that addresses their emotional needs and supports their wellbeing.

“We hope this report is of use to all those with an interest in adoption and fostering services, and especially to providers of these services who invest significant time in providing information to us each year, as well as to other interested parties.”

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