The number of children in care has risen for the fifth successive year to total nearly 69,000, latest statistics show. There are now more children in care than at any point since 1985.  Figures released by the Department for Education show that by the end of March 2014 there were 68,840 children in care – the highest number since 1985.This represents a one per cent increase on the 2013 figure of 68,060.

Meanwhile, 5,050 looked-after children were adopted in 2013/14, an increase of 26 per cent from 2012/2013 when 4,010 children were adopted.Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan said latest figures mean that more vulnerable children are finding permanent homes. “We promised to remove delay and frustration from the [adoption] process for both children and adopters,” she said. “Today’s figures show that we are delivering on that promise.“The system is working more quickly, as well as providing more support to families after an adoption has taken place.”

Children’s minister Edward Timpson welcomed the rise in adoptions, but said the government recognises there is still more to be done by government. “I’m all too aware that welcoming a vulnerable child into your home is a rewarding but challenging experience,” he said.“That’s why we’re putting in more support than ever to ensure that families get a fighting chance including better support services focussed on the needs of the family.”