Children's social work statistics: 2018-2019 - republication

Revised children's social work statistics for Scotland for 2018 to 2019, including data on children and young people looked after, on the child protection register and in secure care, originally published on 31 March 2020.

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, who were formally looked after; under child protection measures; or in secure care at some point between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019.

How do children come to be counted in these figures?

There are a number of ways that a child may become:

  • Voluntary looked after
  • Referred to the Children's reporter and entered on the child protection register
  • Via the criminal justice system taken into secure care

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.

illustration of the routes by which children would be included in these statistics


Each year, data for Children Looked After, Child Protection and Eligibility for Aftercare are collected for the period 1 August to 31 July from all local authorities in Scotland.

Data for Glasgow City were not provided for the period 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2018 in time for the original release of this report, on 31 March 2020. In that original publication, data for Glasgow in 2017-18 were estimated based on 2016-17 records.

In this revised report, data for Glasgow City in 2017-18 have now been included in time series analysis. Glasgow City's Looked After Children data for 2018-19 have also been revised following quality assurance steps which were possible by comparing the 2017-18 data provided with data for 2018-19.

Additionally, it is normal practice that, during the child protection data collection process, local authorities revise their data for the previous year. This report reflects those updates provided by all local authorities for 2017-18.

Although this report primarily focusses on results for 2018-19, revised tables for 2017-18 are included in the supporting Excel tables.

The overall impacts of these revisions are summarised below.

Children looked after

The number of Looked After Children in Scotland was previously reported as being 14,738 in the 2017-18 and 14,015 in 2018-19 - a 5% decrease. These figures have been revised to 14,554 and 14,262 respectively - a 2% decrease.

Child protection

The total number of children on the child protection register was previously reported to be 2,668 in 2017-18 and 2,599 in 2018-19 - a 3% decrease. The 2017-18 figure has been revised to 2,530 - meaning there was a 3% increase in the number of children on the child protection register between 2017-18 and 2018-19.



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