The number of ‘looked after’ children in care has risen steadily over the last few years, new statistics suggest.
According to figures from the Department for Education, there were close to 69,000 looked after children across England and Wales at the end of March – an increase of one per cent over the same period last year, and no less than seven per cent more than on 31 March 2010.
‘Looked after’ children are youngsters under the age of 18 in the care of local authorities.
The number of children both entering and leaving care for the first time has also increased, the Department reports. More than 30,000 children started to be looked after by their local authority in the year to March, up five per cent from the previous year and eight per cent up on 2010. A similar number left care in the same period and this figure was also higher than in previous years – there were six per cent more of these than in 2013 and a hefty 20 per cent more than in 2010.
The number of adoptions, meanwhile, has jumped even more sharply. A total of 5,050 in the year ending 31 March represents an increase of no less than 26 per cent over the previous year, and a hefty 60 per cent increase over the year to 2010.
Young people over the 18 remain eligible for assistance from local authorities but are no longer classed as ‘looked after’.
As many as one in five local authorities look after children from 40 or more other areas.