INFO

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Statistics for 2009

Children looked after

  • There were 60,900 looked after children at 31 March 2009, 2 per cent more than last year’s figure of 59,400 and relatively unchanged compared to 2005 (61,000).
  • Overall, the main reason why social services first engaged with these looked after children was because of abuse or neglect (61 per cent). This percentage has changed little over the past 5 years.
  • Most looked after children at 31 March 2009 were of White British origin (73 per cent). Their numbers have decreased since 2005, falling from 45,900 (75 per cent) to 43,800 in 2008 (74 per cent), followed by a slight increase to 44,500 in 2009. The breakdown by the different ethnic groups has remained similar since 2005.
  • At 31 March 2009, 36,200 children were looked after under a care order which represents 59 per cent of all legal statuses. This is a decrease of 2 per cent from last year’s figure of 36,900 and a decrease of 10 per cent from 2005 (39,800). The percentage of children looked after under a voluntary agreement increased from 29 per cent to 32 per cent since last year.
  • 44,200 children were looked after at 31 March 2009 in a foster placement (73 per cent). This is an increase of 5 per cent on the previous year’s figure of 42,000 and an increase of 7 per cent from 2005 (41,400). 2,500 children were placed for adoption at 31 March 2009. This is a decrease of 13 per cent from last year and a decrease of 28 per cent from the 2005 figure (3,400).

Adoptions

  • 3,300 looked after children were adopted during the year ending 31 March 2009. This represents a 3 per cent increase from the previous year’s figure of 3,200 and a 13 per cent decrease from the 2004-05 figure of 3,800.
  • The number of children looked after who were under 1 year old at adoption decreased over the last 5 years from 210 in 2004-05 to 80 in 2008-09. However, the percentage of children adopted that were aged 1 to 4 has increased from 62 per cent in 2004-05 to 72 per cent in 2008-09.
  • The percentage of children looked after who were adopted that were of white ethnic origin has decreased over the past 5 years from 86 per cent in 2004-05 to 82 per cent in 2008-09, whereas the percentage of mixed ethnic origin children looked after who were adopted increased over the same period from 9 per cent in 2004-05 to 12 per cent in 2008-09.

Care leavers

  • The number of children aged 16 years and over who ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31 March increased from 7,600 in 2004-05 to 8,700 in 2008-09.
  • 61 per cent of these children ceased to be looked after on their 18th birthday, an increase from 52 per cent in 2005. 21 per cent ceased to be looked after aged 16 years, a decrease from 29 per cent in 2005.
  • In 2008-09, 44 per cent of these children had at least 1 GSCE or GNVQ (3,800) compared to 46 per cent in the previous year. 7 per cent of the 8,700 children obtained at least 5 GCSEs at grade A* to C, a figure which has remained the same over the last few years.

National Indicator Set

  • Emotional and behavioural health of looked after children
    This is the first year that data on the emotional and behavioural health of looked after children has been collected and some issues with the quality of the data submitted have been identified (see paragraph 16 of the Technical Notes for further details). The average score on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) for children aged 4 to 16 who had been looked after continuously for at least twelve months at the 31 March was 13.9. This indicator is calculated as the average score for children with a completed SDQ, however these were completed for just 65 per cent of the eligible cohort and within this there was a higher than expected proportion of zero scores.
  • Timeliness of placements of looked after children for adoption following an agency decision that the child should be placed for adoption
    In 2009, 75.8 per cent of children who were adopted during the year were placed for adoption within 12 months of the decision that they should be placed for adoption. This was about 4 percentage points less than in 2005.
  • Stability of placements of looked after children: number of placements
    10.7 per cent of children had three or more placements during 2009. This figure has decreased steadily from 13.7 per cent since 2005.
  • Stability of placements of looked after children: length of placement
    67.0 per cent of children who had been looked after for two-and-a-half years or more had, in the past two years to 31 March 2009, lived in the same placement or their combined adoptive placement and preceding placement. This percentage has increased gradually since 2005 when the percentage was 62.9 per cent.
  • Looked after children cases which were reviewed within required timescales
    90.9 per cent of children had their cases reviewed within the required timescales during 2009. This percentage has increased from 78.9 per cent in 2006 but there has been little change compared to last year (90.0 per cent).
  • Care leavers in suitable accommodation
    89.6 per cent of former care leavers, with whom the local authorities were in touch during 2009, were considered to be in suitable accommodation around the time of their 19th birthday. This compares with 83.9 per cent during 2005 and 88.4 per cent last year.

Notes

This is a summary of statistics about young people from care from the DfE Research and Statistics Gateway. Stats from other years are available in the menu below.

ALL STATS

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