Latest statistics about children and young people in and leaving care

On 28 March 2017 Scottish Government published official statistics about children and young people who are looked after by (or in receipt of aftercare services from) Scottish local authorities. These latest statistics covers the year 1 August 2015 to 31 July 2016.

These figures confirmed some interesting trends, and pose a variety of interesting questions about how children's social work practice is changing in Scotland.

Here we present some headline figures for looked after children and care leavers.

Looked after children 

  • 15,317 children were looked after, at 31 July 2016; a reduction in the total number for the fourth year in a row.
  • However, the number of children living away from their families remained relatively static - 11,447 children were looked after away from the family home.
  • More children continue to be looked after in foster care - 35% of the total population – while 28% were living with friends and family (kinship care), 25% were at home with parents, and 10% were in some form of residential care.
  • Three of 32 local authorities (Glasgow, Edinburgh & Fife) were responsible for over one third (37%) of looked after children.

Figure 1: Number of looked after children by where they live 

Line graph showing downward trend of children looked after at home

Care leavers 

  • 4,602 young people were eligible for aftercare support on 31 July 2016 – and of these care leavers 66% were receiving aftercare support from their local authority – a decrease on the previous year.
  • 40% of young people in receipt of aftercare services were known to be in education, training or employment.
  • 78% of all looked after school leavers are known to be in a positive destination.
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