Publication of ‘Children’s Social Care Statistics for NI 2015/16’

Date published: 13 October 2016

The Department of Health has today published the ‘Children’s Social Care Statistics for NI 2015/16’

Children's social care statistics for Northern Ireland

Key Facts and Figures:

Children in Need

  • At 31 March 2016, 24,698 children were known to Social Services as a child in need;
  • Some 34,124 children were referred to Social Services during 2015/16, the largest proportion of referrals were received from the police (26%) followed by Social Services (21%);

Child Protection

  • At 31 March 2016, 2,146 children were listed on the Child Protection Register;
  • Neglect and physical abuse were the main reasons for a child being on the Child Protection Register;
  • A total of 4,279 child protection referrals were received by HSC Trusts, a 6% increase on the previous year;
  • There were 2,040 new registrations to the Child Protection Register and 1,861 de- registrations during the year.

Looked After Children

  • At 31 March 2016, 2,890 children were looked after in the north of Ireland. This was the highest number recorded since the introduction of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995;
  • The majority of looked after children had been looked after for less than three years, with just under a tenth looked after for 10 years or longer;
  • Three quarters of the looked after children were in foster care placements (77%), 13% placed with parents, 6% in residential care and 4% in other placements. This was similar to previous years;
  • During 2015/16, there were 836 admissions to care and 809 discharges.

Children’s Residential Homes

  • At 30 June 2016, there were 45 Children’s Residential Homes in the north of Ireland, 41 were statutory and four were independent;

Day Care

  • At 31 March 2016, there were 4,691 individuals/facilities registered as day care provision for children aged 12 and under in the north of Ireland. This was a 2% increase on the previous year;
  • Similar to the previous years, the majority of day care provision was provided by childminders followed by, in descending order, day nurseries, playgroups, out of school clubs and other organisations; and
  • At 31 March 2016, there were 57,393 registered places for day care in the north of Ireland representing an increase of 4% on the previous year.

Notes to editors: 

  1. This information was collated by Community Information Branch within the DoH.
  2. This Bulletin is the fifth annual reporting of ‘Children’s Social Care Statistics for NI’ which replaced the ‘Children Order Statistical Tables for NI’ and ‘Children Order Statistical Trends for NI’.
  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 2016. Trend analyses are presented regionally and by HSC Trusts.
  4. Statistics for the year 2015/16 will be published in October 2017. This publication is available online.
  5. Further information is available from:

    Community Information Branch
    Department of Health
    Room 11, Annexe 2,
    Castle Buildings,
    Belfast BT4 3SP

    Tel: (028) 90 528446
    Fax: (028) 90 523288
    Internet: Department of Health

  6. Media enquiries about this press release to DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0575, or out of office hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

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