Publication of ‘Northern Ireland Care Leavers 2021/22’

Date published: 19 January 2023

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 2022.

doh latest statistics

Care leavers aged 16-18

  • There were 320 care leavers aged 16-18 in 2021/22.
  • Some two thirds (65%) 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 33%.
  • Care leavers continue to have a higher proportion of young people with a Statement of Educational Need (23%) compared with the general school population (5%).
  • Of the care leavers aged 16-18 in 2021/22, for whom information was available, 75% were in full time or part time education, training or employment. Some 14% were unemployed and 11% were economically inactive because of caring responsibilities or illness/disabilities.

Care leavers aged 19

  • There were 225 care leavers aged 19 in 2021/22.
  • Some 90% of care leavers aged 19 were in contact with Health and Social Care Trusts; with 65% in contact at least once a month.
  • Some 79% 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,75% were in education, training or employment – a slight increase from the previous year.
  • In terms of becoming a parent, 13% of all care leavers aged 19 were parents, 18 young women and 8 young men.

Notes to editors: 

  1. All publications are available on the Department of Health website.


  1. 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.
  1. 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 522580



  1. Media queries to DoH Information Office on 02890 520074, or out of hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.

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