The number of children in the care system in England has risen to over 67,000 over the past year according to new Department for Education figures.

Of those more than 50,000 are with foster carers and more youngsters were also adopted in the past year with an additional 3,450 given a home.

Most affected are 10 to 15-year-olds, with 24,150 currently in care and Children's Minister Edward Timpson said: "[Though] The rise in the number of adoptions and adoption placement orders is extremely welcome, it still takes too long for those who want to adopt and foster to be approved.

"The time it takes for a child in care to be adopted can be a significant period in that child's life."

The main reason for children living apart from their parents is to protect them from abuse or neglect, with 41,790 of those currently in care falling in this category.

Family dysfunction was the next most common reason given for being taken into care, with 9,530 children falling into this category.

After this, "family in acute stress" affected 6,000 youngsters. And a total of 3,490 children had absent parents.

The official figures show there has been a steady rise in children being taken into care since 2008, from 59,380 to 67,050 in 2012 - 7,670 more children in total.

British Association for Adoption and Fostering was "pleased" with the rise in the number of youngsters adopted, but urged more potential adoptive parents to offer their homes.

Chief executive David Holmes said: "To make further progress we need to see a concerted whole system focus on increasing adopter recruitment, speeding up court processes, improving the adopter assessment process and ensuring adoption support.

"We know that adoption works and we owe it to every child who has a plan for adoption to realise that plan for them without delay."

Posted 25/09/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com