This Statistical First Release (SFR) provides information about looked after children in England for the year ending 31 March 2009. The figures are based on data from the SSDA903 return collected from all local authorities.

This release reports progress on seven National Indicators (NI), two of which also contribute to PSA 16 "To increase the proportion of socially excluded adults in settled accommodation and employment, education or training".

Key Points:

  • There were 60,900 looked after children at 31 March 2009, 2 per cent more than last year's figure of 59,400 and relatively unchanged compared to 2005 (61,000).
  • There were 25,400 children who started to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2009, an increase of 9 per cent from the previous year's figure of 23,300 and an increase of 2 per cent from the 2004-05 figure of 25,000.
  • There were 24,700 children who ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31 March 2009, an increase of 1 per cent from the previous year's figure of 24,400 and a decrease of 5 per cent from the 2004-05 figure of 26,000.
  • 3,300 looked after children were adopted during the year ending 31 March 2009. This represents a 3 per cent increase from the previous year's figure of 3,200 and a 13 per cent decrease from the 2004-05 figure of 3,800.
  • In the past 5 years the percentage of former care leavers, with whom the local authorities were in touch and who were in education, employment or training around the time of their nineteenth birthday, had increased from 58.4 per cent in 2005 to 64.9 per cent in 2008. However, in 2009 the percentage dropped to 63.0 per cent.
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.

Contact details

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