Research commissioned by the country's leading children's charity Barnardo's, has revealed that the campaign to recruit new foster carers is being hampered by pre-conceived notions about what it takes to become a foster carer.
The YouGov poll reveals that almost half of the respondents (43%) who haven't considered fostering in England, believe they are too old to become a foster carer, even though there is no upper age limit on becoming one.
The poll also revealed that nearly three quarters of adults in the UK are worried there aren't enough foster carers to give children safe and loving homes – but only 5% of respondents in England would consider fostering a child in the next five years, according to the new data.
"We know there are people who would love to foster, but believe things like their age, financial situation, or because they have biological children, would prevent them from doing so.
We want to bust these myths, as we believe that any loving person can make a wonderful foster carer. There is no upper age limit and fostering can be a hugely beneficial experience for the entire family, including birth children. At Barnardo's we offer support and training every step of the way."
The number of children in care in the UK now sits at a record high of more than 100,000, with over 80,000 children in care in England, whilst latest Ofsted figures show the number of approved mainstream fostering households in England alone has fallen by 7% since 2019.
For more information on becoming a foster carer with Barnardo's, please visit www.barnardos.org.uk/foster or call 0800 0277 280. The charity's lines are open from Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm.