Two in five teenagers living in foster care have already been placed with their third family, a charity has claimed.
The Fostering Network polled a sample of 1,125 foster carers about a total of 1,608 children in their care.
Forty per cent of the teenagers were already living with their third foster family since first entering the care system – and 25 per cent were with their fourth. Some had experienced even greater levels of upheaval: 17 per cent of the children, or one in six, had reached their fifth foster family, and a remarkable one in 20, or five per cent, had already been placed with their 10th family.
Similar turmoil was found amongst younger children: 29 per cent of fostered youngsters aged between five and ten had reached their third family by the time of the survey, and 18 per cent, or one in five, their fourth family.
In a statement, the charity highlighted the damage done by repeated shifts from family to family:
“Being moved from home to home can have a hugely detrimental effect on children’s education, wellbeing and ability to make and maintain relationships. Not being able to find the right foster carer also means that children too often have to live a long way from family, friends and school and are split up from their brothers and sisters.”
The figures were released to mark the beginning of Foster Care Fortnight, which runs until June 14.
Read more about the Fostering Network here.