Sat, 23 Sep 2023

The Department of Health has today published the 'Children's Social Care Statistics for Northern Ireland 2021/22'.

Children in Need

  • At 31 March 2022, 24,545 children in Northern Ireland were known to Social Services as a child in need;
  • Some 34,969 children were referred to Social Services during 2021/22, the largest proportion of these children were referred by the Police (36%).

Child Protection Register

  • At 31 March 2022, 2,346 children were listed on the Child Protection Register;
  • Neglect and physical abuse were the main reasons for a child being on the Child Protection Register and accounted for over three quarters of all on the register (73%);
  • A total of 1,552 child protection referrals were received by HSC Trusts[1];
  • There were 2,051 new registrations to the Child Protection Register and 1,963 de- registrations during the year.

Children in care

  • At 31 March 2022, 3,624 children and young people were in care in Northern Ireland. This was the highest number recorded since the introduction of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995;
  • Some 22% of the children in care had been looked after for less than a year, with 32% looked after for five years or longer;
  • Just over four fifths of the children in care were in foster care placements (83%), 7% placed with parents, 7% in residential care and 4% in other placements. This was similar to previous years;
  • During 2020/21 there were 893 admissions to care and 726 discharges.

Children's residential homes

  • At 30 June 2022, there were 48 Children's Residential Homes in Northern Ireland, 42 homes were statutory and six were independent.
  • Statutory homes provided 255 places at an average of six places per home; independent homes provided 22 places at an average of four per home.

Children's day care

  • At 31 March 2022 there were 3,606 individuals/facilities registered as day care provision for children aged 12 and under in Northern Ireland. This was a 5% decrease on the previous year;
  • Similar to the previous year, childminders made up the largest number of day care providers followed by playgroups;
  • At 31 March 2022 there were 59,213 registered places for day care in Northern Ireland representing a decrease of 1% on the previous year.

Foster Carers - experimental statistics

  • At 31 March 2022, there were 2,604 HSC Trust recruited foster carers and a further 264 Independent sector foster carers or carers only providing care to children with disabilities;
  • During 2021/22, 579 households received fostering information packs from HSC Trusts, 723 initial home visits were carried out, and 411 fostering assessments were completed;
  • During 2021/22, some 253 foster carers recruited by the HSC Trusts de-registered as carers.

Young people subject to Leaving Care Act - experimental statistics

  • At 31 March 2022 there were 1,625 young people subject to the Care Leaving Act;
  • Some 59% had both a named social worker and a personal adviser[2];
  • Of those who had left, 26% were living independently whilst a quarter (25%) were living in a GEM arrangement.


[1] Referrals in regards to children without an open social work case file.

[2] Excludes a small number who were waiting for social worker/personal adviser allocation.

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