At 31 March 2018, there were 75,420 looked-after children in England, 4% up on the previous year, following a small fall in the number entering care, but also a decrease in the number leaving.
When a child is assessed by children’s services, their primary need is recorded. 47,530 children were identified as having a primary need of ‘abuse or neglect’ - the most common reason identified. 11,270 were in need due to ‘family dysfunction’ and 5,980 were due to the ‘family being in acute stress’. 4,860 were identified as in need due to ‘absent parenting’, almost all of whom are unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. These have been the four highest categories each year since 2014 and have each individually seen an upward trend.
This data is available in the report ‘Children looked after in England including adoption in 2017 to 2018’ and in Table A1 of the accompanying supporting data at: