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Looked after Children

The residential children's home sector and foster care businesses care for children from all walks of life, and all different types of background. Children are looked after, amid stringent legal and regulatory environments when deemed that a child’s parents or the people who have parental responsibilities and rights to look after the child are unable to care for him/her, have been neglecting him/her or the child has committed an offence.

0 - 19 years
  Independent Forster Care Agencies; (IFA's)
  Residential Children's Homes; Including secure welfare
  Mother & Baby; Residential Assessment Centres
  Education
  Family Support Services
  Leaving Care Services
  Independent Living Support
  Step Down Accommodation for care leavers


Both foster care provision and children’s homes appear set to see further capital value growth during the year ahead.
 
About 75% of children in care are fostered, equating to circa 53,000 children, across circa 78,000 placements. The number of placements is reflective of placement changes. Most of the children in care in England, and most of those fostered, are there because they have suffered abuse or neglect, or as a result of family dysfunction. Since the financial crash of 2008, the numbers of children going into care has drastically increased due to increases in poverty and local authorities seeking cheaper alternatives to placing children in children’s homes. Over the past decade there has been much consolidation across the foster care market, and while still fragmented corporate provision has increased. During the past few years, foster care providers have in some cases sought to widen their service offering and some have expanded into children’s homes and other children’s service pathway businesses thus striving to offer services to meet children’s needs, thus mitigating the need to alternative service referrals.
 
During the past few years, following times of austerity and the rapid expansion of foster care provision, dependent on and with due regard to the specific and individual needs of the child, local authorities have steadily started to increase their referrals back toward children’s homes, for children in need of such residential care. With children’s needs becoming more complex and with referrals increasing, there is presently a significant shortage in supply, and this is expected to further fuel demand from business property buyers. 
 
Notably, buyers are increasingly drawn to businesses which offer quality therapeutic and high acuity care, further fuelling demand from providers seeking vacant premises that are suitable for business expansion alongside existing business acquisition opportunities. There also remains a focus on providing high quality education as part of a care package, with operators working on a satellite structure of school and feeder homes.
 
Due to the needs driven nature of the sector and the lack of any geography bias, demand is consistent across the UK with many acquisitive operators being keen to bridge location operational gaps they may have or seeking to acquire businesses with a robust cluster set up.
 
Trade and investor interest have continued unabated, as businesses that provide specialist care and education for children and young people continue to draw interest from a wide pool of buyers.

   Rosie Adlem
 Director - Childcare & Education

 T: 0161 833 6931
 E: Rosie.Adlem@christie.com