Preparing for a LAC Review

Young people involved in VOYPIC have produced several videos on what it's like being in care.

Saunter was made by VOYPIC's Young Reps group as part of the WheelWorks Cultural Development Programme.


'Rejected' was produced by a group of young people from VOYPIC in partnership with WheelWorks. As part of an 8 week programme the group explored issues such as domestic violence, sectarianism, drugs and alcohol abuse, homophobia and war, through drama, visual art and film making. 10 young people aged 12-18 created all aspects of their film with guidance from professional artistic facilitators using industry standard digital film making equipment.


VOYPIC help children get involved in lots of activities and have a say about being in care. VOYPIC can also help them if there is something they are not happy about.

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)


Visit our virtual library, Library in the Sky, to view all statistics relating to the children in care and care leavers.

In 2011 we launched an exciting and unique survey, CASI/Our Life in Care, to capture the views and experiences of children and young people aged 8 - 18.

CASI/Our Life in Care was a Computer Assisted Self Interview survey designed to be completed online.

The last Our Life in Care survey was completed in 2013.

Check out what young people have told us in CASI 2011  Our Life in Care 2012 and Our Life in Care 2013.

Watch the CASI 2011 and Our Life in Care 2012 videos


A Looked After Child (LAC) Review is a meeting to discuss your care. The meeting looks at the practical arrangements for you and makes plans for your future. You have a right to have your wishes and feelings heard and taken into account when decisions are made about your life in care.

How VOYPIC can help with your LAC Review

Make it a little easier!

Young people have told us that going to and talking at a LAC Review can be very difficult. It can be hard to talk infront of so many people about how you are feeling. Why not chat to one of our advocates to see how they can help. If you would like an advocate to go with you to your LAC Review, contact your local office or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


The Department of Health and Department of Education launched a public consultation on the draft Strategy for Looked After Children: Improving Children’s Lives last month. Both departments have pledged to support children and young people in care; those on the edge of care and also those young people who have left care and are still in need of some support. They have made promises on various aspects of a young person’s life – rights, health, safety and stability, work and money, being positive, learning, play and equality – and would like to hear your views.

Our survey

The departments have asked us to find out what children and young people think about the plan. This is your chance to shape it so please take 10 minutes to complete our short survey.





Your views on being in care are very valuable to us. We believe that sharing your views and experience can help to make services better for other children and young people in care.

In 2011 we ran the first of three annual exciting and unique surveys to capture the views and experiences of care experienced children and young people aged 8-18. Our Life in Care is a Computer Assisted Self Interview survey designed to be completed online.

Our Life in Care asked young people questions about care; participation in LAC reviews; education; lifestyle and key relationships. The last survey was conducted in 2013.

We have been sharing Our Life in Care findings to make sure that services are as good as they can be for children and young people in care. We have also increased public awareness about care by promoting a more positive image of children in care.

Check out what young people have told us in CASI 2011 Our Life in Care 2012 and Our Life in Care 2013.

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