username

password

image of 4 Paper Buildings logoCoram ChambersGarden Court1 Garden CourtHarcourt ChambersDNA LegalHind Courtsite by Zehuti

Home > News

Number of looked after children rose by 3% in year to March 2017

Number of looked after children adopted fell by 8%

The Department for Education has published information on looked after children for the year to the end of March 2017.

The number of looked after children continues to increase; it has increased steadily over the last nine years. After small rises of 1% each year between 2014 and 2016, the rise this year has been greater at 3%. At 31 March 2017 there were 72,670 looked after children in England, an increase of 2,220 on 2016, and an increase of 4,600 on 2013.

The increase in looked after children reflects that more children started to be looked after in 2017 than ceased. The number of children starting to be looked after in 2016-17 has also risen in recent years and has increased by 2% compared with the previous year. The number of children ceasing to be looked after in 2016-17 has fallen by 2% compared with the previous year.

For children who are looked after at 31 March 2017, the proportions of children with each recorded category of need is very similar to last year. 61% (44,600 children) were looked after due to an initial need of abuse of neglect, 15% (11,150) family dysfunction, 8% (6,030) family in acute stress and 7% (5,100) absent parenting.

The age profile of looked after children is very similar to last year, with little change in the proportion of children in each age group. Over recent years the numbers of looked after children aged under 1 year have been decreasing; at 31 March 2017 they are down 11% on five years ago, however there has been a slight increase this year of 280 children (8%) between 2016 and 2017. There has been very little change in the number of 1-4 year olds and 5-9 year olds this year; after decreasing slightly in recent years the 1-4 year old group has stabilised around 9,200 children in 2017 and the 5-9 year old group, after increasing in recent years, has stabilised around 14,100.

After a large rise in numbers last year, the number of looked after children who were unaccompanied asylum-seeking children continues to increase in 2017. The number of looked after children at 31 March 2017 who were unaccompanied asylum-seeking children increased by 6% compared to last year, up to 4,560 from 4,300 in 2016, and up 134% from 1,950 in 2013.

Most looked after children are accommodated in foster placements. 74% of children looked after at 31 March 2017 were in foster placements, a similar proportion as in previous years. There has continued to be a fall in children placed with prospective adopters. At 31 March 2017, there were 53,420 children in foster placements, up from 50,560 in 2013. 62% of children fostered were placed within the council boundary and 17% were fostered by a relative or friend. 380 children (1%) were placed with a carer who is also an approved adopter (fostering for adoption), or where they were subject to concurrent planning.

The number of looked after children ceasing to be looked after due to adoption increased between 2011 and 2015 from 3,100 to a peak of 5,360. Last year the number of adoptions fell for the first time since 2011, by 12% and in 2017 the number of looked after children adopted have fallen again, by 8% to 4,350.

The average duration between entry into care and being adopted has continued to fall. It has decreased by six months between 2013 and 2017, from a total duration of 2 years and 6 months in 2013 to 2 years and 3 months in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, it has decreased further to 2 years.

For the full statistics, please click here.

29/9/17