Publication of ‘NI Care Leavers 2017/18’

Date published: 07 December 2018

The Department of Health today published a statistical bulletin summarising information on care leavers aged 16-18 in Northern Ireland and care leavers whose 19th birthday occurred during the year ending 31 March 2018.

Care Leavers Aged 16–18

  • Just over two thirds (69%) of care leavers aged 16-18 had GCSEs or other qualifications. The proportion of care leavers who had 5 GCSEs (A*-C) or higher at the time of leaving care was 27%.
  • Care leavers continue to have a higher proportion of young people coping with disability (13%) than the general population (6%). In terms of education, higher proportions of care leavers had a Statement of Educational Need (23%) compared with the general school population (5%).
  • Of care leavers aged 16-18 for whom information was available, half (50%) were in education or training, 12% were working and 38% were unemployed or economically inactive.

Care Leavers Aged 19

  • Some 94% of care leavers aged 19 were in contact with Health and Social Care Trusts; with 68% in contact at least once a month.
  • Of the care leavers for whom information was available, 65% were in education, training or employment; a higher proportion than in 2016/17 (61%) and higher than 19 year old care leavers in England (60%).
  • In terms of becoming a parent, 12% of all care leavers aged 19 were parents, with 18% of female care leavers aged 19 becoming mothers on or before their 19th birthday.

Notes to editors: 

1. All publications are available on line at:

2. About the data:

The source of the data contained in this release is the Departmental OC1 and OC3 statistical returns, collected from HSC Trusts on an annual basis.

Figures incorporate all returns and amendments received from HSC Trusts up to 25th September 2018.

3. This statistical bulletin was produced by Community Information Branch, DoH.

Further information is available from:

Community Information Branch 

Department of Health,

Room 11, Annexe 2,

Castle Buildings,

Stormont Belfast BT4 3SQ

Tel:      (028) 90 528446

Fax:     (028) 90 523288



4. For media queries please contact the Department of Health Press Office team on 028 9052 0575 or email For out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt

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