Children in Care

Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd January 2019.

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Photo of Teresa Pearce Teresa Pearce Labour, Erith and Thamesmead

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the causes of the recent increase in the number of looked after children in England.

Photo of Nadhim Zahawi Nadhim Zahawi The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

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:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2017-to-2018.

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