About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Monday, 22 September 2008

DCSF Figures

Key points from the latest DCSF Figures

Children looked after at 31 March 2008
• There were 59,500 children looked after at 31 March 2008, 1 per cent
fewer than last year’s figure of 60,000 and a decrease of 3 per cent
compared to 2004 (61,200).

• Overall, the main reason why social services first engaged with these
children looked after was because of abuse or neglect (62 per cent). This
percentage has changed little over the past 5 years.

• Most children looked after at 31 March 2008 were of White British origin
(74 per cent). Their number and percentage has decreased over the last 5
years from 46,300 (76 per cent) in 2004 to 43,900 (74 per cent) in 2008.
The breakdown by the different ethnic groups has remained similar since
2004.

• At 31 March 2008, 37,200 children were looked after under a care order
which represents 63 per cent of all legal statuses. This is a decrease of 4
per cent from last year’s figure of 38,600 and a decrease of 6 per cent from
2004 (39,700). 6 per cent of children were looked after under a placement
order.

• 42,300 children looked after at 31 March 2008 were in a foster placement
(71 per cent). This is an increase of 1 per cent on the previous year’s figure
of 42,100 and an increase of 3 per cent from 2004 (41,200).

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC)
• There were 3,500 UASC who were looked after at 31 March 2008, this is an increase of around 100 children compared to the figure for 2007.

• In 2008 the percentage of UASC children of Black African origin decreased by 7 percentage points to 24 per cent, whilst the percentage of UASC children of any other Asian background increased by 7 percentage points to 31 per cent.

Mothers aged 12 and over

• There were 280 mothers aged 12 and over who were looked after at 31 March 2008, a decrease of 20 per cent from the previous year’s figure of 360 and a decrease of 5 per cent from the 2005 figure.

Children who started to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2008
• There were 23,000 children who started to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2008, a decrease of 4 per cent from the previous year’s figure of 24,000 and a decrease of 8 per cent from the 2003-04 figure of 25,000.

• During the year ending 31 March 2008, 38 per cent of children who started to be looked after were aged between 10 and 15 years old. This figure has decreased over the past 5 years.

• The percentage of children who started to be looked after in the year ending 31 March 2008 who were white British has decreased over the last 5 years from 71 per cent in 2003-04 to 66 per cent in 2007-08.

Children who ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2008
• There were 24,100 children who ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2008, a decrease of 3 per cent from the previous year’s figure of 25,000 and a decrease of 6 per cent from the 2003-04 figure of 25,700.

• The percentage of children who ceased to be looked after aged between 5 and 9 years old decreased over the last 4 years from 17 per cent in 2003-04 to 13 per cent in 2007-08. There was a similar drop in the 10 to 15 age category where the percentage dropped from 30 per cent in 2003-04 to 24 per cent in 2007-08. However, the percentage of children who ceased to be looked after aged 16 and over increased over the past 5 years from 27 per cent in 2003-04 to 34 per cent in 2007-08.

• The proportion of children of white British ethnic origin who ceased to be looked after decreased from 74 per cent in 2004 to 68 per cent in 2007-08 whereas the proportions of children from other Asian backgrounds and of African ethnic origin have increased from 1 per cent in 2003-04 to 3 per cent in 2007-08 and from 4 per cent in 2003-04 to 6 per cent in 2007-08 respectively.

• In the year ending 31 March 2008, most children who ceased to be looked after had a foster placement as their final placement (12,600). This represents 52 per cent of all final placements.

Mothers aged 12 and over who ceased to be looked after
• There were 340 mothers aged 12 and over who ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2008, an increase of 3 per cent from the previous year’s figure of 330.

Children looked after who were adopted during the year ending 31 March 2008
• 3,200 children looked after were adopted during the year ending 31 March 2008. This represents a 5 per cent decrease from the previous year’s figure of 3,300 and a 16 per cent decrease from the 2003-04 figure of 3,800.

• The number of children looked after who were under 1 year old at adoption decreased over the last 5 years from 220 in 2003-04 to 120 in 2007-08.

• The percentage of children looked after who were adopted that were of white ethnic origin decreased over the past 5 years from 86 per cent in 2003-04 to 83 per cent in 2007-08, whereas the percentage of mixed ethnic origin children looked after who were adopted increased over the same period from 9 per cent in 2003-04 to 11 per cent in 2007-08.

• Before being adopted in 2007-08, 9 per cent of children were looked after under a freed for adoption final legal status, 23 per cent were looked after under a care order and 61 per cent were looked after under a placement order.

• The average duration of the final period of care that children looked after had before being adopted in 2007-08 was 2 years and 7 months. This has changed little over the past 5 years.

Adopters of children looked after who were adopted in the year ending 31 March 2008
• 91 per cent of children looked after who were adopted in 2007-08 were adopted by two people (2,900). Most adopters were married (84 per cent), 5 per cent of adopters were an unmarried couple (different gender), 2 per cent of adopters were an unmarried couple (same gender) and 1 per cent of adopters were civil partners.

• 9 per cent of children looked after who were adopted in 2007-08 were adopted by a single adopter. Of these single adopters, 99 per cent were female.

• This is the second year this information has been collected. The percentage of children looked after who were adopted by two people have remained the same at 91% as have the percentage of adopters who were married at 84%.

Children who ceased to be looked after aged 16 years and over during the year ending
31 March 2008


• The number of children aged 16 years and over who ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31 March increased from 6,900 in 2003-04 to 8,300 in 2007-08.

• 61 per cent of these children ceased to be looked after on their 18th birthday, 24 per cent ceased to be looked after aged 16 years.

• The percentage of children aged 16 and over who ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31 March of white British ethnic origin decreased from 71 per cent to 62 per cent over the last 5 years whereas the percentage of those from other Asian backgrounds and of African ethnic origin increased respectively from 1 per cent in 2003-04 to 5 per cent in 2007-08 and from 6 per cent in 2003-04 to 9 per cent in 2007-08, although the percentage of African origin dropped by 1 percentage point from last year’s figures.

• Before ceasing to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2008, 3,200 children aged 16 and over were in a foster placement (39 per cent), 2,100 in secure units, children’s homes and hostels (25 per cent) and 1,900 were placed in the community (23 per cent).

• In 2007-08, 47 per cent of these children had at least 1 GSCE or GNVQ (3,900) and 7 per cent of the 8,300 children obtained at least 5 GCSEs at grade A* to C.

Children now aged 19 years who were looked after on 1 April 2005 then aged 16 years
• The number of children now aged 19 years who were looked after on 1 April 2005 then aged 16 years increased from 5,100 in 2004 to 5,800 in 2008.

• Over the past 5 years, the percentage of children now aged 19 years who were in education other than higher education increased from 18 per cent to 28 per cent. The number for those who were in training or employment increased from 1,600 to 1,800 between 2004 and 2008. The number for those who were not in touch with the local authorities decreased from 15 per cent to 6 per cent over the last 5 year’s.

• Most children now aged 19 years who were looked after at 16 years were accommodated in independent living. This percentage has remained fairly stable over the last 5 year’s.

Children aged under 16 years who have been looked after continuously for at least two and a half years
• 67 per cent of children aged under 16 years who have been looked after continuously for at least two and a half years were in the same placement for at least two years, or were placed for adoption.

This relates to the Public Service Agreement (PSA) target which is to narrow the gap in educational achievement between looked after children and that of their peers, and improve their educational support and the stability of their lives so that by 2008, 80 per cent of children under 16 who have been looked after for two and a half years or more will have been living in the same placement for at least two years, or are placed for adoption.

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