Statistics relating to children in care and care leavers are published by a number of organisations. The key publisher is the Department of Health formerly the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPSNI).

Children in care at 31 March 2017

• 2983 children and young people - 54% were males and 46% were females;

• 78% were in foster care placements, 12% were placed with parents, 5% were in residential care and 4% were in 'other' placements;

• 23% aged under 5; 35% were aged 5 – 11 years old; 25% were aged 12 - 15, and 17% were aged 16 or over;

• The majority had been looked after for less than 3 years, with just under a tenth looked after for 10 years or longer.

(Source: Children's Social Care Statistics for Northern Ireland, Department of Health, Published 12 October 2017)

Care leavers year ending 31 March 2017

582 young people aged 16 – 19 left care between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017

Care leavers aged 16 - 18 (329 care leavers)

• 85% left care aged 18, 15% left care aged 16 or 17 years old;

• 12% had a disability – of these 53% had a learning disability, 43% were on the autistic spectrum and 15% had a mental health condition;

• 33% left care with no qualifications compared with less than 1% of general school leavers; 26% obtained 5 GCSEs (A*-C) or higher compared to 82% of general school leavers;

• 25% had a statement of special educational need;

• 54% were in education or training at the time of leaving care, 11% were in employment, 14% were unemployed and 13% were economically inactive due to caring commitments or sickness/disability.

Care leavers aged 19 (253 care leavers)

• 15% had a disability – of these 49% had a learning disability;

• 12% were parents with 14% of female care leavers aged 19 becoming mothers on or before their 19th birthday;

• 41% were in education or training, 15% were in employment, 17% were unemployed and 18% were economically inactive due to caring commitments or sickness/disability.

(Source: Northern Ireland Care Leavers 2016/17, Department of Health, published 11 January 2018)

 

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