Statistics: Northern Ireland

The figures presented below are taken from statistical reports gathered and published by government departments and bodies. Details of sources are provided at the foot of this page.

On this page:

> Children in public care
> Placements
> Adoption Orders as recorded in the Adopted Children Register
> Adoptions from Care
> Sources

Children in public care

  • 2,890 children were looked after on 31st March 2016
  • 836 children started to be looked after during the year ending 31st March 2016
  • 809 children ceased to be looked after during the year ending 31st March 2016
  • The rate of looked after children per 10,000 under 18 years at 31 March 2016 was 67

Gender

54% (1,536) of children looked after on 31st March 2016 were boys and 47% (1,354) were girls

Age

  • 4% of children (106) looked after on 31st March 2016 were under 1 year old
  • 20% (573) were between 1 and 4 years old
  • 35% (1009) were aged between 5 and 11 years old
  • 24% (692) were aged between 12 and 15 years old
  • 18% (510) were aged 16 and over.

Placements

  • 76% (2,212) of children looked after on 31st March 2016 were living with foster carers
  • 13% (390) were placed with parent 
  • 6% (168) were living in residential care
  • 4% (120) were living in other types of placements.

Adoption Orders as recorded in the Adopted Children Register

  • 104 children were adopted during 2014

NB Adoption Order figures include step–parent, relative and overseas adoptions

Adoptions from Care

89 looked after children were adopted in the year ending 31st March 2016 (17 more than in 2014-15).

Gender

52% (46) of children adopted during the year ending 31st March 2016 were boys and 48% (43) were girls.

Age

In the year ending 31st March 2016:

  • The average age at adoption was 4 years 5 months 
  • Around 70% (c.62) of children adopted were 4 years old or younger
  • Around 30% (c.27) were aged 5 and over. 

Sibling Groups

62% of the looked after children adopted in the year ending 31st March 2016 were adopted as a single child and 38% were adopted as part of a sibling group. 

Waiting times

For children adopted in 2015/16, the average duration from the Trust LAC Best Interest Proposal to adoption was 2 years 3 months, slightly shorter than in 2014/15 (2 years 4 months).

Foster Carer Adoptions

  • 57% (51) of children adopted from care in the year ending March 31st 2016 were adopted by foster carers. 
  • 47% (28) of children adopted by foster carers were boys and 53% (23) were girls.
  • The average age of children adopted by their foster carers was 4 years 8 months compared to 4 years 4 month for other adopted children.

Adopters

97% of adopters in the year ending 31 March 2016 were married couples. The remaining 3% were either single females, same sex couples or unmarried different sex couples. Of all the adopters, 7% had previously adopted a child or children, and 17% had dependent birth children in the household. The age of the adopters ranged from late twenties to late fifties, with the majority of the adopters being in their forties at the time of the adoption (60%).

Private Fostering

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety does not produce statistics relating to Private Fostering Arrangements in Northern Ireland.

Sources:

Children's Social Care Statistics for Northern Ireland 2015-16 (previously Children Order Statistics)
www.health-ni.gov.uk

Children Adopted from Care in Northern Ireland 2015-16
www.health-ni.gov.uk

 

The Registrar General Northern Ireland Annual Report 2014
www.nisra.gov.uk/statistics

The Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency (NIGALA) Annual Report 2014-15
www.nigala.hscni.net

Children's Social Work Statistics 2012 Edition (Scotland but some data in additional tables covers all countries)
www.scotland.gov.uk