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The latest national statistics on Children Looked After by Local Authorities produced by the Department for Education were released on 28th September 2011 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics AuthorityUK Statistics Authority

DfE: Children Looked After by Local Authorities in England (including adoption and care leavers) - year ending 31 March 2011

DescriptionThis Statistical First Release (SFR) provides information about looked after children in England for the year ending 31 March 2011. The figures are based on data from the SSDA903 return collected from all local authorities.

Key Points:
  • There were 65,520 looked after children at 31 March 2011, an increase of 2 per cent from 2010 and an increase of 9 per cent since 2007.
  • 27,310 children started to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2011. This is a decrease of 3 per cent from the previous year, but an increase of 14 per cent from 2007. Of these 27,310 children 35 per cent are classed as being taken into care.
  • 3,050 looked after children were adopted during the year ending 31 March 2011, a decrease of 5 per cent from 2010 and a decrease of 8 per cent since 2007. Similarly there has been a decrease in the number of looked after children placed for adoption. This figure has fallen from 2,720 in 2007, to 2,500 in 2010 with a further fall to 2,450 in 2011.
  • 26,830 children ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2011, an increase of 6 per cent from 2010 and an increase of 7 per cent from 2007.
  • Overall, for those children who started to be looked after during the year the main reason why they were provided with a service is because of abuse or neglect (54 per cent). This percentage has increased each year since 2008 when 48 per cent of children were provided with a service for this reason.
  • 74 per cent of children who were looked after at 31 March 2011 were in a foster placement.
Additional tables have been added to this Release on 30 November 2011. These have been arranged into themes and give further information on the:
  • Children looked after at 31 March
  • Children looked after during the year ending 31 March
  • Children who started to be looked after during the year ending 31 March
  • Looked after children adopted during the year ending 31 March
  • Children looked after who were adopted during the year ending 31 March
  • Children who ceased to be looked after aged 16 and over during the years ending 31 March (care leavers)
  • Children now aged 19 years who were looked after on 1 April then aged 16 (former care leavers)
  • Long term trends for children looked after at 31 March, and children who started, ceased and were adopted during the years ending 31 March
Please note that information on the timeliness of reviews for each Local Authority (Table LAA12 in the publication schedule) has not been published with this additional release. We are currently investigating the data underlying this table and will keep users informed on future publication plans. Table D6, children who ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31 March by number of periods of care in care history, number of placements and age on ceasing, was published on 28 March 2012. A revised version of Table D5 which was originally published on 30 November 2011, was also released on this date.

As part of a Government drive for data transparency in official publications underlying data for this publication is now published (30 November 2011).

Looked after children data user group:

This is a new group which aims to seek feedback on whether these statistics are meeting users' requirements and to consult on any future changes to this data collection and the timing and format of our outputs. If you would like to participate in this group then please register your interest via email.
Download Formats PDF (262Kb) | Explain formats
Additional informationEXCEL (England summary tables)
Additional informationEXCEL (Local Authority summary tables)
Additional informationEXCEL (This table contains details of the grossing factors used for each Local Authority)
Additional informationEXCEL (Publication schedule - this file contains a list of each table within this publication and states its publication date)
Publication’s Underlying Data
Additional informationZip Archive 
Reference IDSFR21/2011
Coverage Country England
Date Released28 September 2011
Main Category Health, well-being and Care
Sub CategoryCare    Click on subcategory link to see if there is later information
TypeStatistical First Release
ContactJulie Glenndenning  cla.stats@education.gsi.gov.uk  tel: 01325 735611
PreRelease AccessClick here
 Publication includes individual Local Authority informationPublication includes individual Local Authority information

To access this publication click on the links next to "Download Formats" above