Headlines: July 27th, 1998

The number of children being looked after by local authorities is increasing year on year according to according to figures published today.

Nearly ninety thousand children are looked after at any one point in time by local authorities in England.

The figures, for the year ending 31 March 1997, show that the total number of children looked after at any time during the year was 88, 700. The number has increased by five percent over the past five years.

The figures also show that nearly half were under ten years old. There has also been an increase in the number of children who are being looked after because of abuse or neglect. In 1992/93 14 per cent were in this category. But in 1996/97 that had increased to 23 percent.

But the amount of time children are spending in care has fallen since 1992. The average time spent being looked after, during their last period of care, was 560 days compared with 610 days in 1992/93.

What’s more, the number of children ceasing to be looked after on their 18th birthday fell from 4,200 in 1992/93 to 3,400 in 1996/97.

Copies of Children Looked After by Local Authorities 1997, are available free of charge from Department of Health SD3A, 80 London Road, Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6LW.