Children's Social Work Statistics 2016-17

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Two per cent of children in Scotland were being looked after by local authorities or on the child protection register on July 31 2017, according to the latest Children’s Social Work Statistics published today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician.

The statistics which include information on children who were looked after, on the child protection register, or in secure care accommodation show that:

  • 14,897 children were looked after in 2017, a decrease of three per cent from 2016, and the fifth consecutive year of decline
  • Foster care remains the most common accommodation for looked after children, accounting for over a third of looked after children (36%), whereas residential care accounts for 10% of looked after children.
  • The number of adoptions of looked after children has generally increased since 2005, and 9 per cent of children (367) leaving care were adopted in 2017, which is the highest recorded level.
  • Permanence Orders have increased every year since 2012, and now stand at 2050, a 6% increase on 2016.
  • 2,631 children were on the child protection register at the end of July 2017. This is a decrease of three per cent since 2016, and the third consecutive year of decrease.
  • Since 2013 there has been a large increase in the number of children leaving the child protection register that had been registered for more than two years, and they increased from 255 to 282 between 2016 and 2017.
  • 80 young people were in secure care accommodation at the end of July 2017. The average number of young people placed in secure care accommodation during 2016-17 was 76, down from 85 during the previous year. If placements from the rest of the UK are excluded, the average number of young people from Scotland placed into secure care fell by 29% compared to last year.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.



These are annual statistics published on children who are looked after, on the child protection register or in secure care accommodation based on data collected from local authorities and secure units.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed here

The full statistical publication can be accessed here

Further information on Children and Families statistics within Scotland can be accessed here



Back to top