Statisics Publication Notice
Health and Care Series
CHILDREN'S SOCIAL WORK STATISTICS 2003-04
26 October 2004
A Scottish Executive National Statistics Publication
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This publication presents findings from a range of statistics to paint an overall picture of demand for, supply of and outcomes from children's social work services. Headline messages are:
- A number of indicators suggest an increasing number of children being looked after for their own care and protection - a continuing trend of increasing numbers of child protection referrals; the average age of a child in care falling and higher numbers of looked after children being placed away from their parental home.
- Almost 11,700 children were looked after by local authorities at 31 March 2004: one per cent of all children under 18, continuing a modest growth in the number in recent years.
- Of 16 and 17 year old care leavers in 2003-04, six out of ten did not achieve any qualifications at SCQF level three or above compared to less than ten per cent for Scotland as a whole. Around 60 per cent of young people leaving care were not in education, employment or training compared to 14 per cent of all 16-19 year olds in Scotland. There has been little change in these proportions since the previous year.
- Over the past five years, the numbers of child protection referrals, case conferences and registrations have increased. However, the number of children on child protection registers has remained fairly constant because children are now spending less time on child protection registers. There have been increases in the number of children added to child protection registers because of emotional abuse and physical neglect and decreases in the number of children registered because of sexual abuse and physical injury.
- There were 468 adoptions in Scotland in 2003. While there has been an increase of over 20 per cent in adoptions between 2002 and 2003, over the past twenty years, there has been an overall decline in the number of adoptions
- Children's social care staff numbers increased by 11 per cent between 2002 and 2003, and the level of vacancies increased by two per cent. Most of the increase in the number of posts was for fieldwork staff. Overall spending by local authorities in 2002-03 amounted to 360 for each child aged 0-17 in Scotland.
SUMMARY FIGURES ON CHILDREN'S SOCIAL WORK STATISTICS: 1999-2004
% total population
Looked after children1
Child protection registers2
Note 1: The number of children looked after at 31 March
Note 2: The number of children on child protection registers at 31 March
Note 3: The number of children adopted during the calendar year. Figures are not yet available for 2004, so the comparisons refer to % change during 2002-2003 and 1999-2003
Note 4: Population figures are mid-year estimates from the General Register Office (Scotland). Population figures are as follows:
Looked after children: percentage of children aged 0-17
Children on child protection registers: percentage of children aged 0-15
Adoptions: percentage of children aged 0-17
CHILDREN LOOKED AFTER
1.1 Almost 11,700 children were looked after by local authorities at 31 March 2004. This represents just over one per cent of all children under 18, and continues a modest growth in the number in recent years.
1.2 The proportion of children looked after in the population varied considerably between local authority areas, with East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire having the fewest and Glasgow City the most, at four and 20 per 1,000 population aged 0-17, respectively.
1.3 In general, the higher the level of deprivation in an area, the higher the proportion of children who are looked after. However, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Midlothian have high proportions of looked after children relative to their level of deprivation and North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Fife and Falkirk have low proportions relative to theirs.
1.4 Two per cent of looked after children were from minority ethnic groups, compared to three per cent of the 0-18 population. Also in March 2004, 17 per cent of looked after children had a disability - similar to previous years. Of the children living away from home, almost three quarters have been so for more than a year, and 30 per cent have had more than three placements.
1.5 Trends emerging from the past year have been
- Increasing numbers of children placed in community settings away from home (number in foster care up five per cent in the last year and 13 per cent since 2000).
- Increasing numbers of children under 1 and reducing numbers of children aged 12 and over being looked after.
- Increasing numbers of girls being looked after (up four per cent in the last year and nine per cent since 2000) and falling numbers of boys who are starting to be looked after.
1.6 There were over 4,500 instances of children starting to be looked after in 2003-04. This represents 39 per cent of children looked after (in March 2004) nationally, with significant local variation: from 77 per cent in West Lothian to around 24 per cent in Shetland.
1.7 Looked after children are more likely to be excluded from school. During 2002/03, there were an average of 227 exclusions from schools per 1,000 looked after children, compared to just 50 exclusions per 1,000 pupils overall. The majority of these exclusions are temporary, and refer to cases of exclusion, not the number of pupils excluded, as some pupils were excluded more than once during the year.
1.8 The gap in educational attainment between children who are looked after, and the rest of the school population, is relatively small in the early school stages, but it widens with each school stage. Chart 1, below, shows the results for English reading, and Table 1.6 shows that the same trends can be observed for English writing and maths, for each school stage from Primary 2 to Secondary 2.
1.9 In March 2004, there were an additional 2,200 children looked after in a series of short term placements (respite care). This number has fallen by 20 per cent in the last year, reversing a recent upward trend.
OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN LOOKED AFTER
1.10 Of 16 and 17 year old care leavers in 2003-04, six out of ten did not achieve any qualifications at SCQF level three or above - a similar proportion to the previous two years. Around 50 per cent of leavers who had been looked after away from home got some qualifications compared to 35 per cent of those looked after at home. Again similar to the previous year, 27 per cent got both English and maths at standard grade.
1.11 During 2003-04, around 1,300 people in Scotland left care and were eligible for throughcare and aftercare support. 45 per cent of these people leaving care had a pathway plan and 53 per cent had a pathway-co-ordinator.
1.12 Social work departments were no longer in touch with 22 per cent of young people who were eligible for aftercare support. This increased with the length of time since leaving care (as may be expected), from 13 per cent of those aged 15, to 21 per cent of those aged 18.
1.13 One in six young people experienced a period of homelessness in the year after leaving care - slightly below the previous year.
1.14 Around 20 per cent of leavers moved more than three times, however this proportion was only 4 per cent for children leaving at 18 (who were more likely to leave from foster care).
1.15 36 per cent of young people receiving aftercare and whose economic activity was known were in education, employment or training - similar level to the previous year. This compares to 86 per cent of all 16-19 year olds in Scotland. If we consider all those eligible for aftercare support, local authorities reported just 18 per cent who were known to be in education, employment or training.
1.16 Regulations to support care leavers ( http://www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/education/syplc-00.asp ) came into force on 01st April 2004 - after the time these figures relate to.
1.17 Significant numbers of authorities were unable to report statistics on outcomes for looked after children. The Executive is taking steps to improve the quality of reporting in future years.
YOUNG PEOPLE IN RESIDENTIAL ACCOMMODATION
2.1 There were 1,917 young people in residential accommodation at the end of March 2004 - similar to the level the previous year.
2.2 In 2002-03, 134 million was spent on residential accommodation in Scotland - a third of overall children's social work expenditure.
2.3 There were 198 establishments providing residential accommodation for children, down from 201 providers the previous year. Most of these centres are children's homes run by local authorities. However, the private and voluntary sectors run an additional 69 residential care centres. Children's homes and homes for children with a disability have an average of 6 places per establishment, compared to the much larger residential schools with an average of 31 places in each.
2.4 Residential schools have a much slower turnover of children (1.7 admissions per resident) compared to children's homes (2.4 admissions per resident) and in particular homes for children with a disability (72 admissions per resident). This is because children with a disability often attend for repeated short planned stays.
2.5 Over the past four years the number of places in children's homes has fallen by 23 per cent, whereas there has been no change in the number of places at residential schools.
2.6 There is significant variation between local authority areas in the age and gender of children entering residential accommodation, and in the average length of stay. This will reflect that authorities work closely together to offer accommodation rather than just relying on homes in their area.
YOUNG PEOPLE IN SECURE ACCOMMODATION
2.7 Six secure units provided a total of 96 secure places during 2003-04: no change from the previous year.
2.8 The average cost per person per week was 3,280 in 2003-04, an increase of 19 per cent on the previous year and 28 per cent over two years ago. This increase widens the gap between costs of secure and other residential or community placements. Given the demand in 2003-04, estimated annual cost for secure accommodation in Scotland was 15.5 million.
2.9 There was an average of 92 residents in secure accommodation in 2003-04 (96% total capacity), varying from 83 to 100 during the year. This means, for Scotland as a whole, there were 46 days over capacity and a further 25 days at capacity during the year.
2.10 Future demand for places in secure will be affected by a number of factors. Using population numbers, the 12-16 population has remained steady for the last 10 year, but is expected to fall by 8 per cent in the next 5 years and 17 per cent in the next 10. However, in recent years there has been an increase in care and protection cases referred to the reporter. Anecdotal evidence suggests cases of care and protection early in childhood are associated with needing secure later in life. This suggests any fall in demand would not be as great as population trends suggest.
2.11 There were 242 admissions to secure accommodation in 2003-04. This was a decrease of 6 per cent in admissions, but there were slightly more admissions (242) as discharges (234). Admissions are at a slightly lower level to the late 1990s.
2.12 64 per cent of admissions were boys; 71 per cent were through children's hearings and 29 per cent through courts; 25 per cent came from their parental home and 21 per cent were admitted from children's homes. The average age on admission was 14 years and four months. Older people tended to come from other secure care or young offenders institutions and do so through courts. Younger people tended to come from foster care or children's homes and do so through children's hearings. The main groups that have changed numbers of admissions in 2003-04 are
- Admissions to a place of safety (up 37 per cent, but continuing longer term trend)
- Girls, particularly aged 14 and 15 (up over 30 per cent to the highest level ever)
- From residential schools (down 50 per cent),
- From prison/young offenders institution (up 67%)
2.13 In 2003-04 over a fifth of admissions were from people who had had a previous spell in secure care - similar to previous years. The gap between spells of secure care has steadily increased, from under 2 months in 1995-96 to 7 months in 2003-04.
2.14 Variation in demand across Scotland continued with similar patterns between authorities as in previous years. Four authorities averaged one or less admission per 10,000 12-16 year olds (Clackmannanshire, East Renfrewshire, Eilean Siar, & Orkney), whereas Dundee and Edinburgh had a rate of admissions more than three times the Scotland average. This suggests different inherent needs in different parts of Scotland (which may explain part of the variation), but it also suggests differences in policy or practice between areas, particularly the threshold for admission and access to secure beds.
2.15 30 per cent of all leavers in 2003-04 returned to the same type of placement as they were in before being admitted to secure. This was 60 per cent for those coming from their parental home and the longer in secure, the less likely they were to return to their previous placement. 10 per cent of leavers go on to another secure placement
3.1 There were 2,245 children on local child protection registers at 31 March 2004; this is a decrease of 44 (2 per cent) on the number a year ago, and is equivalent to two children per 1,000 children aged under 16. Over the past five years, the number of child protection referrals has increased by 14 per cent, the number of children subject to an initial case conference has increased by 23 per cent, and the number of children added to child protection registers has increased by 24 per cent.
3.2 However, the number of children on child protection registers has remained fairly constant over the past five years. This is because children are now spending less time on child protection registers - the number of children on child protection registers for more than 18 months has decreased by 20 per cent over the past five years.
3.3 Of those children referred to local authorities, 40 per cent were the subject of an inter-agency case conference.
3.4 In almost 90 per cent of instances where children were subject to a case conference, the children in question were living at home prior to being referred. In almost 80 per cent cases, the primary source of abuse/risk to the child was known or suspected to be the child's birth parent(s).
3.5 Of these case conferences, just under three quarters resulted in the child being placed on the local child protection register (2,440 children).
3.6 Similar numbers of boys and girls are on child protection registers and over 80 per cent of children on child protection registers are under the age of 11.
3.7 Over the past five years, there have been increases in the number of children added to child protection registers because of emotional abuse (up 108 per cent) and physical neglect (up 80 per cent). There have been decreases in the number of children registered because of sexual abuse (down 32 per cent) and physical injury (down 11 per cent).
4.1 Statistics on the adoptions in Scotland have been, for many years available from two sources. The General Register Office (Scotland) produce annual vital event statistics: http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/grosweb/grosweb.nsf/pages/vtevents . In addition, the Scottish Executive reported on details of adoption applications: figures for 2003, were published in March http://www.scotland.gov.uk/stats/bulletins/00329-00.asp . To reduce duplication of effort, the Scottish Executive stopped the adoptions applications survey at the end of 2003. From now on the definitive figures on adoptions in Scotland will be those produced by the General Register Office (Scotland).
4.2 In addition, the Scottish Executive will collect new statistics on all looked after children who are moving towards a permanent placement, including adoptions - the link http://www.scotland.gov.uk/about/ED/IAC/00016135/PermanencyForm.xls gives details.
4.3 There were 468 adoptions in Scotland in 2003. While there has been an increase of over 20 per cent in adoptions between 2002 and 2003, over the past twenty years, there has been an overall decline in the number of adoptions - there were almost three times as many adoptions in 1983 as in 2003.
4.4 Three quarters of adoptions were for children under 10. Under 5s were mainly adopted by people unrelated to them. As age at which a child is adopted increases, they are more likely to be adopted by a step parent: only 5 per cent of adoptions of people aged 3-4 are to a step parent, compared to 75 per cent for those aged 10-14.
5.1 Local authority social work departments employ around 6,300 social care staff providing services for children (whole time equivalents (WTEs)): 3,700 fieldwork WTEs, 550 WTEs providing daycare, and 2,000 WTEs providing residential care.
5.2 Children's social care staff numbers increased by 11 per cent between 2002 and 2003, and the level of vacancies increased by two per cent. Most of the increase in the number of posts was for fieldwork staff.
5.3 Vacancies now account for 12 per cent of all posts, but varied significantly for the different services. Vacancy rates were higher for fieldwork staff and residential care staff than for daycare staff.
5.4 Some authorities have significant levels of vacancies: East Ayrshire have over a fifth of posts vacant, compared to three authorities with less than one in twenty vacant. There doesn't appear to be any obvious pattern to say which authorities have low or high levels of vacancies.
5.5 Local authorities spent 389 million on social work services for children in 2002-03. Around half was spent on staff costs. Over a third was spent on accommodation-based services.
5.6 Overall spending by local authorities amounted to 360 for each child aged 0-17 in Scotland. This varied from 340 per child in East Renfrewshire, to 660 per child in Glasgow. There is some link with deprivation in the amount spent: more affluent areas tend to spend less per head on children's social work services. However, a much stronger link is that local authorities with higher levels of children looked after tend to spend more per child.
6.1 There are mixed drivers for change in demand for children's social work services. The fall in population amongst young people in Scotland is forecast to continue. However, while the numbers of children under 10 has fallen the fastest in the last five years, this will feed through to mean a significant drop (10 per cent) in the number of children aged 5-14 in the next 5 years. In the last five years the population aged 12-16 has actually increased, however this group are projected to fall in number by 8 per cent by 2009. This may mean some easing of demand on residential accommodation and youth justice services.
6.2 There has been and is projected to be significant shifts in population across the country. The decline in population of children is strongest in some of the urban centres, most notably Aberdeen City, Dundee City and Inverclyde, and relatively remote rural areas. There is less of a decline in the population of children in Stirling, East Renfrewshire and the three Lothian councils outwith the City of Edinburgh.
6.3 Figures from the 2001 census show that less than 1 per cent of children living in private households stay separate to their parents. There were 4,300 children living with their grandparents, 1,100 children living with other relatives and 3,300 living with foster carers/prospective adopters. We also know that there are approximately 1,900 children living in residential accommodation.
6.4 There is a strong link between deprivation and the proportion of children living with relatives. Glasgow and Dundee have different family structure profiles to other authorities, with higher proportions of single parents, children living with relatives and children in residential accommodation.
The following tables are available:
Summary figures on children's social work statistics: 1999-2004
Section 1 - Children looked after
Table 1.1 - Children looked after: by gender and age group
Table 1.2 - Children looked after: by current statutory reason for being looked after
Table 1.3 - Children looked after: by type of accommodation
Table 1.4 - Children looked after: by ethnic origin
Table 1.5 - Children looked after: by current disability status
Table 1.6 - Attainment of looked after children in 5-14 attainment tests, June 2003: by school stage and subject
Table 1.7 - Children ceasing to be looked after: by length of time looked after and age group
Table 1.8 - Children ceasing to be looked after: by destination on discharge and age group
Table 1.9 - Care leavers and people receiving aftercare support, 2003-04: by aftercare arrangements, accommodation and economic activity
Table 1.10 - Number of children looked after in a planned series of short term placements: 2000-2004, by gender and age group
Table 1.11 - Children looked after: by accommodation type, 1971-2004
Table 1.12 - Children looked after, children starting and ceasing to be looked after: by local authority area
Table 1.13 - Children looked after: by local authority area and characteristics
Table 1.14 - Children looked after: by local authority area, accommodation type, and characteristics of care away from home
Table 1.15 - Educational attainment of 16 and 17 year olds leaving care: by local authority area
Table 1.16 - 15-18 year olds leaving care: by arrangements for aftercare and accommodation
Table 1.17 - 15-18 year olds receiving aftercare support: by arrangements for aftercare and economic activity
Section 2 - Young people in residential accommodation
Table 2.1 - Young people in residential accommodation: homes, places and staffing
Table 2.2 - Young people in residential accommodation: by gender, age, and length of stay
Table 2.3 - Residents in and admissions to residential accommodation: by management arrangements and type of centre
Table 2.4 - Young people in secure accommodation: by age, gender, and length of stay
Table 2.5 - Provision of secure accommodation: by capacity, usage and length of stay
Table 2.6 - Homes, places and staffing in residential accommodation: by local authority area
Table 2.7 - Residents in, admissions to and discharges from residential accommodation: by local authority area
Section 3 - Child protection
Table 3.1 - Children referred for child protection inquiries: by gender and age group
Table 3.2 - Children who were subject to a case conference: placement of children prior to referral
Table 3.3 - Children who were subject to a case conference: by child's primary known / suspected abuser
Table 3.4 - Children registered following a case conference: by category of abuse / risk identified by conference
Table 3.5 - Children de-registered: by category of abuse/risk identified at conference and length of time on child protection register
Table 3.6 - Number of children on child protection registers: by gender and age group
Table 3.7 - Number of children referred, subject to a case conference, registered and on child protection registers, 1999-2004
Table 3.8 - Number of children on child protection registers and rate per 1,000 population aged 0-15: by local authority area
Table 3.9 - Numbers of children referred, subject to a case conference, registered during the year, and on child protection registers: by local authority area
Section 4 - Adoptions
Table 4.1 - Adoptions: by age and gender of the adoptee
Table 4.2 - Adoptions: by age and relationship of the adopter(s)
Section 5 - Resources
Table 5.1 - Children's social care staff and vacancies in local authorities: by staff type and mode of employment
Table 5.2 - Children's social care staff and vacancies in local authorities: by local authority area
Table 5.3 - Local authority revenue expenditure on children and families social work services: by category of expenditure
Table 5.4 - Local authority revenue expenditure on children and families social work services: by local authority area
Section 6 - Contextual information
Table 6.1 - Population estimates and projections by individual age group (0-19), Scotland, 1999-2009
Table 6.2 - Population estimates and projections by age group and local authority area, Scotland, 1999-2009
Table 6.3 - Household estimates and projections by number of adults and children, Scotland, 1999-2009
Table 6.4 - Number of households by family structure by local authority area, Scotland 2001
Table 6.5 - Dependent children in private households by family structure and local authority area, Scotland 2001
BACKGROUND NOTES - children looked after
1. For historical statistics and background on roles and responsibilities for children looked after, please see the previous publications
Children looked after statistics 2000-01. Published on 21 May 2002
Children looked after statistics 2001-02. Published on 28 November 2002
Children's social work statistics 2002-03. Published on 31 Oct 03
2. The information in this News Release was obtained from the statistical return CLAS. The attached link gives details of the statistics collected from each local authority
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/about/ED/IAC/00016135/CLASform.xls Guidance notes: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/about/ED/IAC/00016135/CLASnotes.doc
3. Statistics on exclusions from local authority schools were published in 'Exclusions From Schools, 2002/03'
4. Statistics on 5-14 attainment in publicly funded schools 2002-03:
5. Further statistics on examination results of looked after children were published in "SQA attainment and school leaver qualifications in Scotland: 2002/03"
BACKGROUND NOTES - residential care
1. For historical statistics and background on roles and responsibilities for children in residential accommodation, please see the previous publications
Covering the year ended 31 March 2000. Published on 27 June 2001
Children in residential accommodation 2000-01. Published on 2 Sept 02
Children in residential accommodation 2001-02. Published on 14 Jan 03
Children's social work statistics 2002-03. Published on 31 Oct 03
2. The information in this News Release was obtained from the statistical return R1C. The attached link gives details of the statistics collected from each provider of residential accommodation
Requested data (non-secure): http://www.scotland.gov.uk/about/ED/IAC/00016135/R1Cform.xls
Guidance notes (non-secure): http://www.scotland.gov.uk/about/ED/IAC/00016135/R1Cnotes.doc
Requested data (secure): http://www.scotland.gov.uk/about/ED/IAC/00016135/SecureForm.xls
Guidance notes (secure): http://www.scotland.gov.uk/about/ED/IAC/00016135/SecureNotes.doc
BACKGROUND NOTES - child protection
1. For historical statistics and background on roles and responsibilities for children in residential accommodation, please see the previous publications
Child Protection statistics 1999-00. Published on 23 October 2001
Child Protection statistics 2000-01. Published on 3 September 2002
Child Protection statistics 2001-02. Published on 5 November 2002
Children's social work statistics 2002-03. Published on 31 October 2003
2. The information in this News Release was obtained from the statistical return CP. The attached link gives details of the statistics collected from each local authority
BACKGROUND NOTES - adoption
1. For historical statistics and background on roles and responsibilities for adopted children, please see previous publications:
Covering the years 1996-1998. Published on 10 March 1999
Covering the year ended 31 December 1999. Published on 26 April 2000
Covering the year ended 31 December 2000. Published on 22 May 2001
Covering the year ended 31 December 2001. Published on 13 June 2002
Covering the year ended 31 December 2002. Published on 18 March 2003
Covering the year ended 31 December 2003. Published on 16 March 2004
2. Figures on adoptions, consistent with the numbers presented in section 4 of this publication are available from the General Register Office (Scotland) website
BACKGROUND NOTES - resources
1. Figures published here on staff employed by local authorities (tables 29 and 30) and on finance (tables 31 and 32) have been published already by the Scottish Executive. The following links give more details
Scottish social work employee statistics 2001
Scottish social work employee statistics 2002
Scottish social work employee statistics 2003 - published 8th July 2004
Scottish Local Government Financial Statistics 2001-2002
Scottish Local Government Financial Statistics 2002-2003
BACKGROUND NOTES - general
1 There is now a single point of entry for all regular statistics collected on children in Scotland. Visit the Scottish Children's Statistics Gateway at www.scotland.gov.uk/statistics/children.
2 We welcome feedback on the statistics published and those collected about children in Scotland. If you want to have a say in what we do, please get in touch. There is a short on-line survey running for the month following publication. Alternatively telephone 0131 244 3745 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
3 Where providers of data were unable to give full details, data was estimated and then subsequently used in the calculation of Scotland level data.
4 Figures published here may differ slightly from those which will be published by Audit Scotland in 'Performance Indicators 2003-04: Social Work Services: Comparing the performance of Scottish councils'. This is due to the different timescales available for the completion of returns.
5 This is a National Statistics publication. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
6 Public enquiries ( non-media) about the information contained in this News Release should be addressed to Children's Statistics, Scottish Executive Education Department, Area 1-A, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ (telephone 0131 244 3745 or e-mail email@example.com).
7 Media enquiries about the information in this Statistics Publication Notice should be addressed to Rona Dunbar on 0131 244 2670.