Foster children who are moved between homes and families too frequently suffer further emotional harm, a charity has claimed.
No less than a quarter of all British children in foster placements were moved at least once last year, reports Action for Children, with some being shuffled into new homes as many as six times.
The charity obtained the data through Freedom of Information requests made to all 433 local authorities in the UK.
The 143 councils who responded cited a total of 64,372 children living in foster care in their regions over the 12 months to March. Of those youngsters, 14,583 were moved twice or more, while 168 children ended up in at least seven different homes over the year.
Action for Children Chief Executive Tony Hawkshead highlighted the potential impact of this repeated disruption on “children who have faced the most traumatic experiences and find it hard to trust someone new.”
He called on more families to foster, saying this would help local authorities find the right homes for children unable to live with their parents.
A Department for Education spokeswoman insisted that the government was already coordinating with councils “to help them recruit foster carers who can meet the needs of children.”