Children's social work statistics 2017-2018

The latest data on children and young people looked after, on the child protection register and in secure care.

This document is part of a collection


What do these statistics include?

We present information collected from local authorities and secure units on children and young people, generally younger than their mid-twenties, who were formally looked after, under child protection measures, or in secure care at some point between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018.

Some data tables are summarised within this publication, but full tables including extended time series are available in the spreadsheets published alongside this bulletin.

How do children come to be counted in these figures?

There are a number of ways that a child may become looked after, on the child protection register or in secure care. Children may be referred to the Children's Reporter, become voluntarily looked after or come via the criminal justice system. The diagram below gives a high-level illustration of the main routes by which children would be included. See background note 1.1 for more information.

high-level illustration of the main routes by which children would be included


Data for Children Looked After, Child Protection and Eligibility for Aftercare was collected for the period 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2018 from all local authorities in Scotland, except from Glasgow City. To estimate national figures for 2017-18, the 2016-17 figures for Glasgow City have been used along with the 2017-18 figures for all other local authorities.

As a result of this, some additional tables that are usually published alongside this publication have not been produced. The decisions on which tables to exclude were made on the basis that if Glasgow City's data made up a significant proportion of the count in any of the individual breakdowns reported in a table, then it was decided not to publish these tables at national level. This is because a high proportion of the national estimate in these breakdowns is comprised solely of Glasgow City's data and any changes for Glasgow City's figures that have occurred over the year for these breakdowns will have a significant impact on the national figure.

This issue also affects reporting of the scale of changes that have occurred since last year. If the impact of the absence of data for Glasgow City for 2018 has had a major impact on the percentage change over the year, then this is clearly highlighted in the commentary accompanying the affected table. Further information on the impact of using 2017 data for Glasgow City is available in the Background Notes.

The figures for Secure Care are collected directly from secure units and, therefore, are unaffected by this issue.

Scottish Government are currently working with Glasgow City to secure the provision of the Children Looked After, Child Protection and Eligibility for Aftercare returns for 2017-18. If the returns are provided to Scottish Government, then this publication will be updated to include the data from Glasgow City.



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