Publication of ‘Children’s Social Care Statistics for Northern Ireland 2014/15’

Date published: 15 October 2015

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety has today published the ‘Children’s Social Care Statistics for Northern Ireland 2014/15’.

Children's social care statistics for Northern Ireland

Key Facts and Figures:

Children in need

  • At 31 March 2015, 23,834 children in Northern Ireland were known to social services as a child in need
  • Some 38,418 children were referred to social services during 2014/15, the largest proportion of referrals were received from the police (26%) followed by social services (22%)
  • Of the children referred to social services, a quarter (26%) had their needs met at the time of referral whereas 69% were allocated for further action (assessment/service)
  • For those that were allocated for further action, the majority related to a carer who needed support to give appropriate care for the child (76%), 21% related to child protection investigations and 2% related to a child with disability

Child protection

  • At 31 March 2015, 1,969 children were listed on the Child Protection Register in Northern Ireland
  • Neglect and physical abuse were the main reasons for a child being on the Child Protection Register
  • A total of 4,054 child protection referrals were received by health and social care (HSC) trusts, a 1% decrease on the previous year
  • There were 1,904 new registrations to the Child Protection Register and 1,847 de- registrations during the year

Looked after children

  • At 31 March 2015, 2,875 children were looked after in Northern Ireland. This was the highest number recorded since the introduction of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995
  • The majority of looked after children in Northern Ireland had been looked after for less than three years, with just under a tenth looked after for ten years or longer
  • Three quarters of the looked after children were in foster care placements (76%), 12% placed with parents, 7% in residential care and 5% in other placements. This was similar to previous years
  • During 2014/15 there were 844 admissions to care and 825 discharges

Children’s residential homes

  • At 30 June 2015 there were 49 children’s residential homes in Northern Ireland, 41 were statutory and 8 were independent

Day care

  • At 31 March 2015 there were 4,616 individuals/facilities registered as day care provision for children aged 12 and under in Northern Ireland. This was a 9% decrease on the previous year
  • Similar to the previous years the majority of day care provision was provided by childminders followed by, in descending order, playgroups, day nurseries, out of school clubs and other organisations
  • At 31 March 2015 there were 55,200 registered places for day care in Northern Ireland representing a decrease of 2% on the previous year

Notes to editors: 

  1. This information was collated by Community Information Branch within the DHSSPS.
  2. This Bulletin is the fourth annual reporting of ‘Children’s Social Care Statistics for Northern Ireland’ which replaced the ‘Children Order Statistical Tables for Northern Ireland’ and ‘Children Order Statistical Trends for Northern Ireland’.
  3. Areas covered within the bulletin include children in need, child protection, looked after children, residential care and day care, both at and for the year ending 31 March 2015. Trend analyses are presented regionally and by HSC trusts.
  4. Statistics for the year 2014/15 will be published on 15 October 2015. This publication is available online 
  5. Further information is available from Community Information Branch
  6. Media queries to DHSSPS Press Office on 02890 520074, or out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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