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Latest statistics about children and young people in and leaving care

On 27 March 2018 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 2016 to 31 July 2017.

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  and young people

  • Increasing numbers of children looked after are going into legally secured permanenceThe use
  •  of Permanence Orders is increasing as the use of Compulsory Supervision Orders drops
  • Adoptions of looked after children increased to its highest level on record
  • The number of children looked after at home continues to fall
  • Increasing numbers of children are being looked after away from home
  • The most common placement for looked after children is with foster carer

Number of looked after children by where they live 

Line graph showing downward trend of children looked after at home

Care leavers

  • There were 5,653 young people reported to be eligible for aftercare services on 31 July 2017, 53% were known to be receiving aftercare
  • 47% of those receiving aftercare for whom current activity is known were in education, training or employment - 3% decrease on 2016
  • More of the 19 to 21 age group are not in education, training or employment, and more of this group are receiving aftercare compared to the other age groups
  • The proportion of aftercare eligible individuals who are known to have never been homeless has risen from 52% last year to 54% this year

Child protection

  • Emotional abuse is the most common concern that leads to children being placed on the child protection register
  • 53% of children on the child protection register were aged under five

Number of children on the child protection register by age

Number of children on the child protection register by age 2000-2017.png

Secure care

  • There were an average of 76 children or young people in secure care accommodation throughout 2016-17
  • Placements into secure units from outside Scotland account for 30% of secure unit admissions
  • The number of residents placed from Scottish local authorities has fallen
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