The number of children in England urgently needing foster care from Barnardo’s has risen by more than half during the coronavirus pandemic, the UK’s leading children’s charity says as it appeals to potential carers to come forward.
From April-December 2020, the number of children referred to Barnardo’s fostering services in England rose by 57% compared to the same period in 2019.
During that time there were 13,030 referrals to Barnardo’s fostering services in England, a figure which shot up from 8,302 for the same period in 2019.
Barnardo’s says children who may have experienced abuse and neglect are waiting for places with loving foster families. Without more potential foster carers coming forward, hundreds of children referred to Barnardo’s will not be placed with a family.
The UK’s leading children’s charity believes the pandemic and lockdowns have increased pressure on vulnerable families, with job losses, deepening poverty and worsening mental health all leading to family breakdown. Children have also been in lockdown in homes where domestic abuse and sexual abuse are taking place. These pressures will likely impact more families as the pandemic continues.
Barnardo’s is releasing these figures as part of their fostering week campaign. The charity is calling on people over 21, who have a spare room and the time and commitment to support a child to get in touch and consider fostering a child. Barnardo’s welcomes foster carers from all walks of life, including single people, those from the LGBTQ+ community and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
The charity also wants to make it clear that foster carers will be supported every step of the way by Barnardo’s, and will also be eligible for financial support including carers’ allowance.
To find out more about fostering with Barnardo’s, go to or call 0800 0277 280.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: “Vulnerable families have been hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic, with many reaching crisis point. This means more children than ever need a safe and loving foster family to care for them.
“Barnardo’s has over 100 years’ experience bringing vulnerable children together with loving foster families, who provide the vital love and support children need to thrive. If you become a foster carer with Barnardo’s we will support you every step of the way with training and a dedicated social worker. You’ll also receive financial support, including a carer’s allowance.
“Today, there are hundreds of children who have been referred to Barnardo’s and are waiting to be placed with a foster family. We urgently need more potential foster carers to come forward. If you’re over 21, have a spare room and the time and commitment to support a child in need, please do consider getting in touch today.”

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