A child is looked after by an authority if he or she is in their care or if he or she is provided with accommodation for a continuous period of more than 24 hours by the authority in the exercise of its social services function. Children are taken into care for a variety of reasons, the most common being to protect a child from abuse or neglect. In other cases their parents could be absent or may be unable to cope due to disability or illness.

Current publication

Previous publications

Until 2012 this publication was divided into two publications titled ‘Children order statistical tables’ and ‘Children order statistical trends’.

For older publications, use the publications search

Information sources

Kinship care

Kinship care refers to children who are cared for by a ‘relative’ as defined in article 2 (2) of the children (Northern Ireland) order by a family friend who has a prior connection to the child.

Current publication

This is a paper providing a comprehensive series of data on children living permanently in households without a birth parent present and their primary carers.

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