Publication of ‘Children’s Social Care Statistics for NI 2018/19’

Date published: 10 October 2019

The Department of Health has today published the ‘Children’s Social Care Statistics for NI 2018/19’.

Children's Social care Statistics Image

Key Facts and Figures:

Children in Need

  • At 31 March 2019, 24,289 children in Northern Ireland were known to Social Services as a child in need
  • Some 34,578 children were referred to Social Services during 2018/19, the largest proportion of these children were referred by the Police (33%) followed by Social Services (12%)

Child Protection

  • At 31 March 2019, 2,211 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 3,139 child protection referrals were received by HSC Trusts, an 8% decrease on the previous year
  • There were 1,992 new registrations to the Child Protection Register and 1,882 de- registrations during the year

Looked After Children

  • At 31 March 2019, 3,281 children were in care in Northern Ireland. This was the highest number recorded since the introduction of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995
  • The majority of children in care in Northern Ireland had been looked after for less than three years, with just under a tenth looked after for ten years or longer
  • Four fifths of the children in care were in foster care placements (79%), 11% placed with parents, 6% in residential care and 4% in other placements. This was similar to previous years
  • During 2018/19 there were 884 admissions to care and 677 discharges

Children’s Residential Homes

At 30 June 2019 there were 47 Children’s Residential Homes in Northern Ireland, 41 were statutory and 6 were independent

Day Care

  • At 31 March 2019 there were 4,079 individuals/facilities registered as day care provision for children aged 12 and under in Northern Ireland. This was a 5% decrease on the previous year
  • Similar to the previous year, child-minders made up the largest number of day care providers followed by, in descending order, day nurseries, playgroups, out of school clubs and other organisations
  • At 31 March 2019 there were 60,501 registered places for day care in Northern Ireland representing a decrease of 3% on the previous year


Notes to editors: 

1. This information was collated by Community Information Branch within the DoH.

2. This Bulletin is the eighth 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, Children in Care, Residential Care and Day Care, both at and for the year ending 31 March 2019. Trend analyses are presented regionally and by HSC Trusts.

4. Statistics for the year 2019/20 will be published in October 2020.

   This publication is available online at:

5. Further information is available from:

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

Tel:        (028) 90 528446

Fax:       (028) 90 523288


6. For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health Press Office on 028 9052 0579 or email: . For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.

7. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt(external link opens in a new window / tab).

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