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History of foster care in the UK

Foster parenting has a long history in Britain with the notion first dating back to the late 19th century. 
Many people are keen to understand more about why the foster care system was created. The answer is due to the lack of social services to support children in need of care and protection that were available at the time. In response to this need, many charities were established to provide homes for orphans and children whose parents could not care for them.

In this article, we’ll cover a brief history of fostering in the UK, including how foster care has changed over the years. 

When Was The Foster Care System Created? 

The first known foster placement in the UK took place in 1869 when a couple in Liverpool took in a child whose mother had died. This marked the beginning of a movement to provide children with temporary or permanent homes outside of their birth families.

The concept of fostering children gained momentum in the early 20th century with the establishment of the Children’s Act of 1908, which gave local authorities the power to take children into care. During World War II, foster care became even more important as many children were evacuated from major cities to live with foster families in the countryside.

In the post-war period, the UK government began to take a more active role in regulating and overseeing foster care. In 1948, the National Assistance Act established a system of local authorities responsible for the provision of fostering services. The Children Act of 1948 further strengthened the legal framework for fostering, emphasising the need to ensure the welfare of children in care. 

The Switch To Community-Based Foster Care Services 

Foster care in the 1960s and 1970s was when the UK experienced a significant increase in the number of children being placed in foster care. This was in part due to changing attitudes towards family and parenting. The trend continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s, as the government sought to move away from institutional care towards more community-based services.

Today, foster care remains an important part of the UK’s child welfare system. There are more than 82,000 children in foster care in the UK, with around 44,000 foster families providing care. The government has continued to develop policies and initiatives to improve the quality of foster care and support both foster carers and the children in their care.

Fostering In UK FAQs

How Many Foster Families Are There In The UK?

The latest UK Gov information has revealed there are approximately 43,400 fostering households in England. Crucially, there is an active need for a further 7,000 more foster families to meet demand. 

What Are The UK Fostering Allowance And Benefits?

Fostering allowances vary depending on where you’re located, the type of foster care you provide and how long for. We’ve created our own fostering allowances calculator to provide you with a tailored answer to how much you’ll be paid as a foster carer. 

Do You Need Qualifications To Do Foster Parenting?

No. So long as you possess the right qualities to support a young person and also pass the fostering assessment process, you can make a valued contribution to society by becoming a foster parent. 

Match Foster Care – Become A UK Foster Parent Today

Now you’ve learned more about the history of fostering in the UK, are you ready to be written into the narrative yourself by becoming a foster parent?

As noted above, the UK needs more foster families. If you feel that you can make a difference in a child’s life, whether it be through short-term fostering or long-term fostering, then you should apply for a foster carer position and become a dedicated foster parent. 

Match Foster Care has locations across the wider West Midlands area. Contact our team for more information.