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Who is Entering Institutional Care?

Who is Entering Institutional Care?

Posted by: admin | 21 November 2016| Categories: Case Studies

In this article we take a look at institutional care figures and ask some key questions as to what they explain.

Who is entering institutional care?

Every year statistics are published on who is entering care, a child’s age, gender, location and how long they are in care for is kept on record. These statistics help tell part of the story but what the statistics don’t tell us is the emotional impact that experience has had on a child’s life and their development, that is what the Forum is here to do, to listen to people’s experience, positive or negative.

What do the numbers tell us?

We know the average age of children in care is between 5 to 11 years old, closely followed children aged 12 to 15 years old, this seems to change often between the two age ranges year to year. In 2015 15,404 children were ‘looked after’ in care in Scotland, of these 3,927 children were looked after at home, 5,742 were in foster care or with prospective adopters, 4,206 were in other placements in the community whilst 1,529 were living in residential care.

We also know that on average 37% of children in care spend less than three years there. But again, we do not know why the age ranges change or why the children are entering care or even where they go when they leave.

The statistics give us a picture of who is in care but we would also like to see statistics for what happens after children leave care, we know through our experience many go on to struggle with alcohol and drugs and homelessness. Statistics can tell us a lot and we do see value in them but we would like to see more context and more rationale to better shape care for children in the future. Giving more context behind the numbers helps identify what went well or what went wrong for each child.

Source: Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA) (2015) Online statistics 2014/15 (PDF). Stirling: SCRA
Source: Scottish Government (2016) Children's Social Work Statistics Scotland, 2014-15.

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