Publication of Northern Ireland Care Leavers 2020/21

Date published: 16 February 2022

The Department of Health today published a statistical bulletin summarising information on care leavers aged 16-18 in Northern Ireland and care leavers whose 19 birthday occurred during the year ending 31 March 2021.

latest doh stats

Care leavers aged 16-18

  • there were 332 care leavers aged 16 to 18 in 2020/21.
  • some two thirds (67%) of care leavers aged 16 to 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 29%.
  • care leavers continue to have a higher proportion of young people with a Statement of Educational Need (20%) compared with the general school population (5%).
  • of the care leavers aged 16 to 18 in 2020/21, for whom information was available, 74% were in full time or part time education, training or employment. Some 15% were unemployed and 11% were economically inactive because of caring responsibilities or illness/disabilities.

Care leavers aged 19

  • there were 238 care leavers aged 19 in 2020/21.
  • some 95% of care leavers aged 19 were in contact with Health and Social Care Trusts; with 74% in contact at least once a month.
  • some 67% received some form of ongoing support from social services, including support for higher education and accommodation.
  • of the care leavers for whom information was available, 70% were in education, training or employment – a slight decrease from the previous year.
  • in terms of becoming a parent, 10% of all care leavers aged 19 were parents, with equal numbers of female and male care leavers aged 19 becoming parents on or before their 19 birthday.

Notes to editors: 

  1. All publications are available online
  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.
  3. This statistical bulletin was produced by Community Information Branch, DoH.
  4. Further information is available from:
    Community Information Branch 
    Department of Health,
    Room 11, Annexe 2,
    Castle Buildings,
    Stormont Belfast BT4 3SQ
    Tel: 028 90 522580

5. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email

6. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt.

7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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