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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Looked after children numbers down for fourth year in Scotland

Written by The Press Association

The number of looked after children in Scotland has declined for the fourth year in a row.

Official figures show there were 15,317 children being looked after by local authorities as at July last year.

The number is down 83 (1%) from 2015 and has fallen in four consecutive years from a high of 16,248 in 2012.

The children's social work statistics show foster care was the most common type of accommodation for looked after young people, accounting for more than a third (35%), while 10% were in residential care.

The number of adoptions of looked after children reached its highest recorded level, with 8% of children leaving care adopted.

The figures also show a rise in the use of permanence orders, under which the sheriff court can transfer the right to decide where a child lives to the local authority.

The use of such orders has increased every year since 2012, and now stands at 1,971, up 12% from 2015.

At the end of 2016 there were 2,723 children on the child protection register, down 1% on the previous year.

A total of 88 young people were in secure care accommodation.

Early years minister Mark McDonald said: "One of the standout highlights in these statistics is that the number of children who ceased being looked after through adoption is now at the highest level ever, supported by the move to establish Scotland's Adoption Register on a statutory footing.

"Generally, this data shows that we are making real progress in providing a better start in life for our most vulnerable children.

"We are not complacent though. We know there is more to do to deliver better outcomes for all looked after children, which is why we are undertaking a root-and-branch review of the care system and implementing an improvement programme in the child protection system."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Niall Carson / PA Wire.