National statistics for fostering and adoption

Download PDF of all statistics


This year in the UK, around 40,000 children and young people will enter the care system. That’s 109 every day.

There are currently around 99,000 children in the UK who are classified as looked-after away from home. An increase of 3% from the previous year.

More than 65,000 children live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK.

The UK urgently needs to recruit 8,600 more foster families to meet the need.

At 31 December 2018, there were 2750 children waiting for adoption in England. 39% of these had been waiting eighteen months or more.

To filter our statistics please select from the categories below:



  • Of children who cease to be looked after, around 7% go on to be adopted.
  • 68% of children who are adopted are under the age of five.


  • 309 children were adopted in 2018-19 – a 3% increase on the previous year.5
  • 8% of children were adopted by their former foster carer, a proportion that has fallen steadily over the past ten years but remained consistent over the last three years.6
  • At 31 March 2019, 338 children were waiting to be matched or placed with a new family.7


  • 9% of those leaving care are adopted.7
  • Children wait on average, 3 years and 1 month to be adopted.8
  • 14% of those leaving care go to live with their former foster carers via the ‘Going the Extra Mile’ (GEM) Scheme.9


  • 3,570 children ceased to be looked after due to adoption, a 7% decrease from 2018.9
  • The average age of adoption is 3 years and 1 month.10
  • The number of looked after children with a placement order for adoption has fallen by 35% since 2015.11

Connect locally

I would like to find out what is
going on in my area

Connect Locally

Keep up-to-date

I would like to stay up-to-date with Home for Good's news and how
I can give, pray and get involved to help vulnerable children.

Home for Good will never pass on your details to third parties for marketing purposes and you can unsubscribe from our communications at anytime by emailing

reCAPTCHA helps prevent automated form spam.