Rate of Looked After Children

Monitoring

Rate of Looked After Children rate per 10,000 population (0-17 years).

At year end for 2020/21, there were 504 looked after children in Shropshire.  This was an increase of 26% from the 399 children looked after at the end of 19/20.

This increase in demand relates to an increase in children requiring accommodation due to safeguarding concerns. Those concerns range from neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, substance misuse, parental mental health and domestic abuse. As such we have seen an increase in the number of care proceedings being initiated. The majority of children entering the care system do so subject to court proceedings. All children entering care are subject to senior management approval and we closely monitor and track all children.

During the year 21/22 to date, there has been a further increase in the number of children looked after to 571 at the end of Q2. This represents an 13.3% increase against year end 20/21.

During 21/22 to date, 133 children started to be looked after, this is 46% greater than the 91 children starting in the same period in 20/21. However, ceasing levels have also increased, with 66 children ceasing in 21/22 to date, 57% higher than the 42 who ceased during the same period last year

There are a range of reasons for the increase in children looked after, including large sibling groups, increase in neglect, delays in court proceedings being completed, delays to exiting children’s care plans. We are doing an in-depth analysis of the reason for the increase to ensure the increase is fully understood and projections can be made.

The rate of children looked after has now increased to 94.7 children per 10,000 U18s. This is now higher than the 2019/20 comparator rates when Shropshire was at (66),  England (67), West Midlands (82) and Statistical near neighbour average (61.8) New comparator data expected to be published Dec 2021.