THE NUMBER of looked after children in Oxfordshire has increased over the last year, with campaigners warning the nation faces a 'looming crisis' in foster care due to coronavirus.

Children's charities say England's care system will be placed under great strain as a result of measures to deal with Covid-19, with some families already pushed to breaking point.

Department for Education figures show that there are 779 looked after children – those placed in the car of the council – in Oxfordshire in 2018 to 2019.

That was a 14 per cent jump on the year before, as the forth consecutive annual increase.

The trend was replicated across the country, with 78,000 children looked after the local authorities in England – a rise of four per cent on 2017 to 2018, the year before.

The vast majority of these go into foster care with the Independent Foster Carers Alliance warning the sector faces a “looming crisis” as the coronavirus begins to place a strain on foster families.

Charity director Jane Collins says she fears reduced support for families will mean even more children needing new homes, adding: "Foster carers with children with complex medical needs and disabilities are already at breaking point without respite provision and school to give them needed time to recharge.”