This Statistical First Release (SFR) provides information about children looked after in England for the year ending 31 March 2008. The figures are based on returns collected from all 150 English local authorities.

Key Points:

  • There were 59,500 children looked after at 31 March 2008, 1 per cent fewer than last year's figure of 60,000 and a decrease of 3 per cent compared to 2004 (61,200).
  • There were 23,000 children who started to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2008, a decrease of 4 per cent from the previous year's figure of 24,000 and a decrease of 8 per cent from the 2003-04 figure of 25,000.
  • There were 24,100 children who ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2008, a decrease of 3 per cent from the previous year's figure of 25,000 and a decrease of 6 per cent from the 2003-04 figure of 25,700.
  • 3,200 children looked after were adopted during the year ending 31 March 2008. This represents a 5 per cent decrease from the previous year's figure of 3,300 and a 16 per cent decrease from the 2003-04 figure of 3,800.
  • Over the past 5 years, the percentage of children now aged 19 years who were in education other than higher education increased from 18 per cent to 28 per cent. The number for those who were in training or employment increased from 1,600 to 1,800 between 2004 and 2008. The number for those who were not in touch with the local authorities decreased from 15 per cent to 6 per cent over the last 5 years.
Revisions and Amendments
  • 26 November 2008 - The number of children looked after during the year and the number of days provided per child (days) in the first 2 rows for each year 2004 to 2008 in table B2.
  • 01 April 2009 - The number of single female adopters and the number of different sex unmarried couples for 2007 in table E2 have been amended.
  • 01 April 2009 - The number of looked after children in the 'socially unacceptable behaviour category' for 2006 in table E1 have been amended.
  • 18 May 2009 - The South West region figure and LA figures for Devon, Plymouth and Torbay for the year 2006 on number of looked after children that went missing from children's homes only were amended.
  • 18 May 2009 - Suppressions for a number of LAs for each of the years 2006,2007 and 2008 for all columns were amended.
  • There are on going issues with the calculations for National Indicator 66. We are therefore still unable to publish this along with our final release of tables in December. We will publish this table as soon as we are able to and shall update this site when we have further information.

Contact details

Children and Early Years Data Unit
Email: CLA.Stats@education.gsi.gov.uk