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Child Safety and Wellbeing - Children Looked After

Looked After Children key trends

Last update March 2018

At 31 July 2017, there were 14,897 looked after children – a decrease of 3% from 2016. This is the fifth consecutive year the number of looked after children has decreased following a peak of 16,248 in 2012; the numbers leaving care each year have been consistently more than number starting.

The numbers of Permanence Orders and adoptions in 2017 were higher than in 2016, an ongoing trend in increasing numbers of children going into legally secure permanence.

Increasing numbers of children are being looked after away from home in community settings. The most common placement type for children looked after is with foster carers.

More information at: Children's Social Work Statistics 2016-17

The proportions of looked after school leavers in 2016/17 achieving all levels of qualification have improved since 2009/10. The percentage of children looked after for the full year achieving at least SCQF level 5 has increased from 15% in 2009/10 to 44% in 2016/17. Looked after school leavers continue to have lower attainment than other school leavers, but the gap between children looked after for the full year and all school leavers has narrowed. Looked after children tend to leave education earlier than school leavers in general.

Looked after children are less likely to be in positive destinations after leaving school than children who are not looked after. However, a higher proportion of looked after children were in positive destinations nine months after leaving school in 2016-17 than in any previous recorded year.

The school attendance of looked after children has improved since 2009/10, but improvement has stalled in recent years and attendance is still below that of all pupils.

The exclusion rate for children looked after has nearly halved since 2009/10. The exclusion rate is still much higher than in the general school population, but it is declining steadily.

More information at: Education Outcomes of Looked After Children 2016/17

Further information