Publication - Statistics publication

Children's Social Work Statistics Scotland, 2012-13

Published: 25 Mar 2014
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781784123697

statistics on children looked after, child protection and young people in secure care and close support accommodation

44 page PDF

977.8 kB

44 page PDF

977.8 kB

Contents
Children's Social Work Statistics Scotland, 2012-13
Children Looked After

44 page PDF

977.8 kB

Children Looked After

down arrow The total number of looked after children has fallen for the first time since 2001
up arrow Continuing increase in proportion looked after in foster care and kinship care
children Children continue to be looked after for a longer time

This section presents 2012-13 data on children looked after during the period from 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013. Local authorities have a responsibility to provide support to certain vulnerable young people, known as 'looked after children'. A young person may become looked after for a number of reasons, including neglect, abuse, complex disabilities which require specialist care, or involvement in the youth justice system.

There are several types of placements that looked after children or young people could be placed in, including at home (where a child is subject to a Supervision Requirement and continues to live in their normal place of residence), foster care, residential unit or school, a secure unit or a kinship placement (where they are placed with friends or relatives).

Chart 3: Children looked after per 1,000 children under 18 by type of accomondation, 1987-2013

The number of looked after children increased from 2001 to 2012 before decreasing slightly in 2013. The decrease in numbers of looked after children is due to a reduction in numbers of children starting to be looked after. This is not a new trend (numbers starting to be looked after peaked in 2008), but this is the largest year-on-year fall since devolution.

There continue to be more children being looked after away from home in community settings, in particular with foster carers and with friends/relatives. After previously increasing from 2001 to 2008, over the past five years there has been an overall decrease in the numbers of children looked after at home. Numbers of children looked after in residential care settings have been fairly static over recent years, but have seen a slight downward trend since 2007.

The total numbers looked after peaked in 2012, with a one per cent decrease from 16,248 in 2012 to 16,041 in 2013. The number of children being looked after by foster carers/prospective adopters or in other community placements remains at the highest level on record and, for the second year running in 2013 there were more children looked after by foster carers/prospective adopters than looked after at home.

Table 1.1: Number of children looked after 2009 to 2013 by type of accommodation(1)

Type of Accommodation 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
In the community          
At home with parents 5,924 6,193 5,476 5,153 4,759
With friends/relatives 2,993 3,172 3,910 4,076 4,193
With Foster Carers provided by LA 3,594 3,651 3,871 3,946 3,906
With Foster Carers purchased by LA 905 1,046 1,197 1,333 1,427
With prospective adopters 242 299 267 262 244
In other community 49 51 49 45 45
Residential Accommodation          
In local authority home 611 620 615 564 576
In voluntary home 138 82 88 90 112
In residential school 598 471 460 451 439
In secure accommodation 102 82 86 95 65
Crisis care 18 17 13 14 12
In other residential 113 208 199 219 263
Total looked after children 15,287 15,892 16,231 16,248 16,041

(1) Figures are provisional and may be revised in 2013-14. Information on the number of children looked after by accommodation type is available back to 1971 in Table 1.1a of the excel version of the publication tables: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/PubChildrenSocialWork

When children become looked after, a care plan should be produced. The care plan should include detailed information about the child's care, education and health needs, as well as the responsibilities of the local authority, the parents and the child. A care plan is considered 'current' if it has been produced or reviewed in the past 12 months.

Table 1.2: Children looked after at 31 July 2013 with and without a current care plan(1)

  Looked after at home Looked after away from home Total
  Number
With a current care plan 4,637 10,992 15,629
Without a current care plan 122 290 412
Total 4,759 11,282 16,041
  Percentage
With a current care plan 97 97 97
Without a current care plan 3 3 3
Total 100 100 100

(1) Figures are provisional and may be revised in 2013-14.

Table 1.2 shows that almost all children being looked after at 31 July 2013 had a current care plan. Ninety-seven per cent of the 16,041 children who were being looked after at the end of July 2013 had a current care plan, a slight increase on 2012. There was almost no difference between children looked after at home and away from home - 97 per cent of both groups of children had a current care plan.

Children starting and ceasing to be looked after

Table 1.3: Number of children starting to be looked after 2003, 2008, 2010-2013, by age(1)

  Year Ending 31 March Year Ending 31 July Percentage of totals(2)
  2003 2008 2010 2011 2012 2013 2003 2012 2013
Under 1 268 502 650 701 753 700 6 16 16
1-4 850 1,132 1,146 1,127 1,098 1,037 19 23 23
5-11 1,350 1,537 1,463 1,485 1,509 1,378 30 31 31
12-15 1,773 1,758 1,555 1,389 1,410 1,299 39 29 29
16-17 271 225 45 44 40 56 6 1 1
18-21(3) - 5 0 0 1 0 - 0 0
Total 4,513 5,159 4,859 4,746 4,811 4,470 100 100 100

(1) Table excludes planned series of short term placements. Figures for 2012-13 are provisional and may be revised. The number of looked after children aged 18+ was not asked for prior to 2006. A child may start to be looked after more than once in a year and so may be counted more than once.

Full data by gender and age group for 2000-2013 is available in Table 2.1 of the excel version of the publication tables http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/PubChildrenSocialWork

(2) Due to rounding, the percentage totals may not equal the sum of their parts.

(3) The 18-21 category in this table may include a small number of looked after young people who were over 21 years.

The reduction in total numbers being looked is reflected by decreases in the numbers of children starting and ceasing being looked after. Table 1.3 shows the number of children who started being looked after between 2005-06 and 2012-13. A child will be counted more than once if they started being looked after more than once during the reporting year. There were 4,470 children who started to be looked after during 1 August 2012 and 31 July 2013, a seven per cent decrease from the 2011-12 figure (4,811). The 2013 figure is the lowest since 2005.

Over the last 10 years children have started to be looked after at younger ages. In 2003, twenty-five per cent of children starting to be looked after were aged under five. By 2013 this had risen to 39 per cent, although this has changed little since 2012. There is no gender pattern, with equal proportions of boys and girls of each age starting to be looked after in 2013.

Table 1.4 shows the number of children who ceased being looked after between 2006-07 and 2012-13. A child will be counted more than once if they ceased being looked after more than once during the reporting year. There were 4,722 children who ceased being looked after between 1 August 2012 and 31 July 2013, a decrease of one per cent from the 2012 figure (4,768) and an overall increase of 32 per cent since 2005, the year in which figures reached a low point of 3,566.

Just as children are starting to be looked after at a younger age, children are also ceasing to be looked after at younger ages. The number of children ceasing to be looked after who were under the age of 12 increased by 48 per cent between 2003 and 2013. The length of time children had been looked after at the point they stopped being looked after remained similar between 2012 and 2013, although the numbers of children looked after for more than three years has increased by 56 per cent since 2006.

Table 1.4: Number of children ceasing to be looked after, by length of time looked after and age, 2003, 2008, 2011-2013(1),(2),(3)

  Total 2003 2008 2011 2012 2013 2003% 2012% 2013%
Under 1 Under 6 weeks 26 46 35 40 39 37 29 27
6 weeks to under 6 months 26 33 52 72 64 37 52 44
6 months to under 1 year 17 21 29 27 41 24 19 28
  Total 97 101 116 139 144 100 100 100
1-4 Under 6 weeks 86 119 86 76 100 15 8 11
  6 weeks to under 6 months 56 119 66 85 90 10 9 9
  6 months to under 1 year 133 119 153 168 164 23 18 17
  1 year to under 3 years 244 255 442 467 459 43 51 48
  3 years to under 5 years 54 66 120 116 138 9 13 15
  Total 611 694 867 912 951 100 100 100
5-11 Under 6 weeks 144 141 94 103 107 14 8 8
  6 weeks to under 6 months 92 96 87 123 101 9 9 7
  6 months to under 1 year 190 173 192 249 239 19 18 17
  1 year to under 3 years 385 343 486 489 496 38 36 36
  3 years to under 5 years 143 206 261 238 267 14 18 20
  5 years and over 61 102 152 155 156 6 11 11
  Total 1,029 1,087 1,272 1,357 1,366 100 100 100
12-15 Under 6 weeks 151 127 73 83 117 14 8 12
  6 weeks to under 6 months 155 149 104 104 121 14 10 13
  6 months to under 1 year 217 216 209 193 186 20 19 20
  1 year to under 3 years 430 337 419 377 335 39 37 35
  3 years to under 5 years 109 134 110 130 107 10 13 11
  5 years and over 40 79 86 121 86 4 12 9
  Total 924 1,062 1,001 1,008 952 100 100 100
16+ Under 6 weeks 33 27 11 7 9 3 1 1
  6 weeks to under 6 months 92 107 39 23 31 7 2 2
  6 months to under 1 year 175 274 134 137 139 14 10 11
  1 year to under 3 years 613 656 533 517 465 48 38 36
  3 years to under 5 years 198 247 257 270 260 16 20 20
  5 years and over 163 233 381 398 405 13 29 31
  Total 1,483 1,569 1,355 1,352 1,309 100 100 100
Total Under 6 weeks 440 460 299 309 372 11 6 8
  6 weeks to under 6 months 421 504 348 407 407 10 9 9
  6 months to under 1 year 732 803 717 774 769 18 16 16
  1 year to under 3 years 1,672 1,591 1,880 1,850 1,755 41 39 37
  3 years to under 5 years 504 653 748 754 772 12 16 16
  5 years and over 264 414 619 674 647 7 14 14
  Total 4,144 4,513 4,611 4,768 4,722 100 100 100

(1) Excludes children who are on a planned series of short term placements. Figures for 2012-13 are provisional and may be revised in 2013-14. If a child ceases to be looked after more than once during the year they will be counted more than once.

(2) Some totals do not exactly equal the sum of their component parts due to the effects of rounding.

(3) Falkirk did not provide information on length of time looked after for children ceasing to be looked after in 2007-08. 88 children ceasing to be looked after in this local authority for 2007-08 are included in the totals only.

Local authorities are required to carry out a pathway assessment for aftercare services on young people who are over school leaving age but are still looked after within three months of the young person becoming compulsorily supported. These young people should be provided with a pathway co-ordinator who assesses their needs and a pathway plan which outlines how the local authority plans to meet the needs of the young person. Table 1.5 shows the number of children who were beyond their minimum school leaving age on the date they ceased to be looked after during 2012-13. A child will be counted more than once if they ceased to be looked after more than once during the reporting year.

Table 1.5: Percentage of children ceasing to be looked after, by destination, 2007-2013(1),(2)

  Percentage of children ceasing to be looked after in year ending
  31 March 31 July
Destination after leaving care 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Home with (biological) parents 52.0 51.8 63.7 62.0 60.0 68.2 67.5
Friends/relatives 8.7 8.4 11.4 11.8 13.1 12.1 13.7
Former foster carers 0.4 1.0 1.6 1.9 1.2 1.3 1.3
Adoption 3.2 3.0 4.6 4.8 5.7 5.7 6.3
Supported accommodation/own tenancy 5.0 6.2 5.1 5.7 6.2 5.5 5.7
Other(3) 12.8 7.0 6.3 6.7 4.9 5.8 4.5
Not known 17.8 22.5 7.3 7.0 9.0 1.4 1.0
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

(1) Table excludes planned series of short term placements. A child may cease to be looked after more than once during the year and will be counted once for each episode of care ending. Some totals do not exactly equal the sum of their component parts due to the effects of rounding.

(2) Figures for 2012-13 are provisional and may be revised in 2013-14.

Prior to 2008, table includes some estimates and some "not known"s where local authorities were not able to provide information.

(3) "Other" includes residential care, homeless, in custody and other destination.

There are a number of types of destinations that children can be allocated to on leaving care. The majority of children (67.5 per cent in 2012-13) go to live with their biological parents and a further 13.7 per cent went to live with friends or relatives. A striking trend is the increase in the proportion of children being adopted - this proportion has almost doubled to 6.3 per cent since 2007, although from a small base.

Three quarters (75 per cent) of young people who had reached their minimum school leaving age at the time they ceased to be looked after during 1 August 2012 to 31 July 2013 had a pathway plan. This is a two percentage point increase from 2011-12. 75 per cent had a pathway co‑ordinator, an increase of two percentage points from the previous year. Where a young person's final placement type was 'at home' they were less likely to have a pathway plan or a pathway co-ordinator than if the final placement type was 'away from home'. Of children whose last placement was at home, 68 per cent had a pathway plan and 69 per cent a pathway coordinator, compared with 81 and 80 per cent of those whose final placement type was 'away from home'.

Table 1.6: Pathway plans and nominated pathway co-ordinators of young people who ceased to be looked after during 2012-13(1) who were beyond minimum school-leaving age on the date they ceased to be looked after

  Looked after at home Looked after away from home Total
  Number
With a pathway plan 391 572 963
Without a pathway plan 184 132 316
With a nominated pathway co-ordinator 396 562 958
Without a nominated pathway co-ordinator 179 142 321
Total 575 704 1,279
  Percentage
With a pathway plan 68 81 75
Without a pathway plan 32 19 25
With a nominated pathway co-ordinator 69 80 75
Without a nominated pathway co-ordinator 31 20 25
Total 100 100 100

(1) Figures are provisional and may be revised in 2013-14. Figures include all episodes of ceasing to be looked after beyond minimum school leaving age (i.e. a child may be counted more than once).

Aftercare services

Local authorities have duty to provide advice, guidance and assistance for young people who - at the point they leave care - have reached minimum school leaving age, referred to as 'aftercare services'. Table 1.7 shows the number of young people eligible for aftercare services on 31 July 2013 by age and their economic activity. 'Economic activity' refers to whether a young person was in education, employment or training.

There were 3,886 young people reported to be eligible for aftercare services on 31 July 2013, of whom 69 per cent were receiving aftercare, an increase from 66 per cent in 2012. 43 per cent of those receiving aftercare and who had a known economic activity were in education, training or employment. This is a one percentage point increase on 2012.

For the young people receiving aftercare where their education/employment status was known, 15-16 year olds were most likely to be in education, training or employment, at 58 per cent. The age groups least likely to be in education, training or employment was 19 to 21 year-olds at 38 per cent.

Table 1.7: Young people eligible for aftercare services on 31 July 2013, by age and economic activity(1)(2)

  % of young people
  Age Total eligible for aftercare receiving aftercare with known economic activity
Economic activity on 31 July 2013 15-16 17 18 19-21(3)
In education, training or employment  
In higher education 16 25 35 59 135 3 6
In education other than HE 60 66 75 111 312 8 13
In training or employment 54 106 145 254 559 14 24
Not in education, training or employment  
- due to short term illness * * 5 8 16 0 1
- due to long term illness or disability * * 20 56 84 2 4
- due to looking after family 0 13 27 59 99 3 4
- due to other circumstances 92 221 266 555 1,134 29 48
Not known 49 71 108 119 347 9  
Not receiving aftercare 131 292 411 366 1,200 31  
Total 403 804 1,092 1,587 3,886 100  
Percentage in employment, education or training  
As percentage of all young people eligible for aftercare ("Total") 32 25 23 27 26    
As percentage of young people receiving aftercare with known economic activity ("Total" excluding "Not Known" and "Not receiving aftercare) 58 45 45 38 43    

(1) Figures are provisional and may be revised in 2013-14.

(2) Cells containing * represent numbers that are suppressed to maintain confidentiality. Due to rounding, the totals for percentages may not equal the sum of their parts.

(3) The 19-21 category in this table includes a small number of young people over the age of 21 who were receiving aftercare.

Short-term placements

Table 1.8: All children with a current planned series of short term placements at 31 July 2013 by type of placement(1)(2)

Type of placement Number of children Percentage(3)
Residential establishment 1,175 61
Hospital 8 0
Foster placement 483 25
Other placement 248 13
Total 1,914 100

(1) Figures are provisional and may be revised in 2013-14.

(2) Due to rounding, the totals for percentages may not equal the sum of their parts.

(3) Figures include any child aged under 21 with a current plan, (even if they were not accommodated) but no open LAC episode on 31 July, or are reported as eligible for aftercare.

If a child is subject to a planned series of short-term placements where, for the purposes of respite, they stay away from home for more than 24 hours continuously, they are categorised as being looked after by the local authority for that period. The statistics for these young people are not included in the main looked after children statistics. Table 1.8 shows the number of children with a current planned series of short-term placements at 31 July 2013, by type of placement.

At 31 July 2013 there were 1,914 children being looked after on a current planned series of short-term placements. 61 per cent of these children were looked after in residential establishments, whilst 25 per cent of these children were looked after in foster placements, compared to 11 per cent in 2012. This contrasts with a fall of children in other placements from 28 per cent in 2012 to 13 per cent this year.

Cross-UK looked after comparisons

The definition of "looked after children" varies across the countries within the UK. In Scotland children looked after at home are included in the definition and in the statistics. In the England and Wales statistics children looked after at home are usually excluded. As a result, simply comparing the rate of children looked after gives figures for Scotland which are much higher than the rest of the UK. Chart 4 gives Scottish figures including and excluding children looked after at home. The published Scottish figure is at 31 July 2013 where other UK nations are at 31 March. To improve comparability, the Scotland figure at 31 March has been used in the comparison chart below.

When children looked after at home are excluded from the Scottish figures the rate is still higher and increasing more steeply than any of the other UK countries. There has been a similar, but less steep, increase in the rate of looked after children in Wales since 2006. Although England and Northern Ireland have seen small increases in the rates in recent years, the rate per 10,000 under 18 years population has remained more static. Looked after children tend to be younger in Scotland than the rest of the UK - 11 per cent of looked after children Scotland are aged 16 or over, compared to 20 per cent in England (18 per cent in Northern Ireland and 16 per cent in Wales). Given this, the sharper increase in numbers in Scotland over the past 10 years, which coincided with a focus on intervening earlier in the lives of vulnerable children, may partly reflect different approaches across the UK.

Chart 4: Cross-UK comparison of rate of looked after children per 10,000 children, 2005-2013

Links to the cross-UK data underlying Chart 3 can be found in Background Note 1.7. There is more information on the comparability of looked after children data across the UK: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/socialservicestats

There are additional tables on looked after children available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Children/PubChildrenSocialWork


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