Summary: Age and Children and Families
In June 2014 there were 1,031,761 children (under 18 years old) in Scotland. Of this, 227,497 children were aged 0-3 years and 528,254 children were aged 0-8 years.
Source: Mid-2017 Population Estimates Scotland (Last updated: April 2018, NRS)
- At 31 July 2017, there were 14,897 looked after children - a decrease of 3% from 2016. This is the fifth consecutive year the numbers have decreased following a peak of 16,248 in 2012. The amount of care leavers each year has been consistently more than the amount starting, although both numbers have also been declining.
There were 4,186 children who started to be looked after between 1 August 2016 and 31 July 2017. Over the last 10 years children have started to be looked after at younger ages. In 2007, 30% of children starting to be looked after were aged under five. By 2017 this had risen to 38%. The figures have been broadly steady since 2011. A large proportion of this group are the under-one year olds, and the numbers in this youngest group have almost doubled since 2007. There was a corresponding decrease in the proportion of children aged 12+ being looked after (those aged 5-11 remained similar).
There were an average of 76 residents in secure care accommodation throughout 2016-17, a decrease from 85 residents in the previous year. These numbers include an increase in placements from the rest of the UK - there was a 29% decline in residents from Scotland. 72% of residents were under 16 at 31st July 2017. The percentage of residents 13 years old or younger increased to 18% from 10% in 2016.
The number of children on the child protection register has fluctuated regularly, but has declined over the last 3 years, with a decline of 3% since last year. The majority of children on the child protection register are under 5 years old (including some unborn children). This has been the case since 2008.
Source: Children's Social Work Statistics Scotland 2016/17 (Last updated: March 2018)
- Looked after children tend to have lower levels of educational attainment than non-looked after children. These differences are, in part, linked to the fact that looked after children tend to leave school at younger ages. In 2016/17 72% of children looked after for the full year and 75% of those looked after for part of the year were aged 16 and under (i.e. they left school at the earliest point they could), compared with 28% of school leavers more generally. The proportion of leavers who were aged 16 and under has decreased since 2009/10, including among looked after leavers, but the gap between looked after leavers and other leavers remains consistent.
Source: Education Outcomes for Looked After Children 2016/17 (Last updated: June 2018)
- In September 2017 there were 95,839 registrations for ELC local authority funded places. This is a decrease of 1,068 compared to 2016 registrations for ELC in Scotland. Eligible children are estimated from mid-year population estimates. As children may be counted more than once if they are registered to receive local authority funded ELC at more than one centre this figure will overestimate true uptake.
Source: Summary Statistics for Schools in Scotland, No.8: 2017 Edition (Last updated: December 2017)
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