Publication of the statistical bulletin ‘Children in Care in Northern Ireland 2017/18’

Date published: 12 September 2019

The Department of Health has today published the ‘Children in Care in Northern Ireland 2017/18 Statistical Bulletin’.

Children in Care Statistics Image

This bulletin presents information on children and young people who had been looked after continuously for at least 12 months at 30 September 2018. It details findings from the OC2 collection of information on the educational achievements of these young people at Key Stage Assessments and GCSE. It also includes information on their placement, health assessments, disability and offences and convictions.

Some children in care will excel educationally, however in general, children in care in Northern Ireland continue to underperform compared to the general school population. Although there are many issues that can influence a child’s schooling, it is worth noting that a substantially higher proportion of children in care have special educational needs which may affect the educational attainment gap between them and the general school population.

Key Findings

  • At 30 September 2018, 2,421 children and young people had been in care continuously for 12 months or longer;
  • Of these, one sixth (16%) had experienced a placement change during the previous 12 months, which is the lowest in recent years;
  • Having a statement of Special Educational Needs continues to be more prevalent among the children in care of school age (23%) compared with the general school population (5%);
  • Some 10% of school aged children and young people had full attendance through the 2017/18 school year, while 8% missed 25 or more school days;
  • Over three quarters (76%) of looked after children attained five or more GCSE at grades A* to G; this compared with 99% of the general school population. The equivalent figures for those achieving GCSE at grades A* to C were 54% and 86% respectively.

Notes to editors: 

1. This publication is available online.

2. About the data:

The source of the data contained in this release is the Department of Health OC2 statistical return, collected from Health and Social Care Trusts as well as the Department of Education School Census.

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

Tel:                              (028) 90 522580

Fax:                             (028) 90 523288


4. For media queries please contact the Department of Health Press Office 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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