During the pandemic and as the country emerged out of lockdown, it became apparent that independent fostering agency (IFA) members of the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers’ (NAFP) were seeing changes in the volume and patterns of referrals from local authorities seeking foster care for children.
In addition, IFAs also started to witness changes to the practices being adopted by both local authorities and IFAs in their efforts to find appropriate foster carer matches for children. NAFP has undertaken focused work to explore and better understand these changes.
Referrals from local authorities to IFAs increased year on year for the period 2019 to 2022. During the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020, overall referrals increased, but at a
lower rate than the preceding and following year.