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.

Looked After Children
  Legal Status
  Adoptions from Care
  Waiting Times
  Foster Carer Adoptions
  Adopter Characteristics


On 31st March 2017:

  • 5,954 children were in the care of local authorities
  • 95 - the rate of looked after children per 10,000 under 18 years


On 31st March 2017:

  • 74% (4,434) of children looked after were living with foster carers
  • 12% (712) were living with their parents or another person with parental responsibility
  • 5% (305) were living in residential placements
  • 4% (239) were placed for adoption
  • 4% (264) were living independently or in other placements

10% of children (624) looked after at 31 March 2017 had three or more placements during 2016-17.

Legal Status

On 31st March 2017:

  • 4,625 children looked after under care orders
  • 730 children accommodated under Section 20
  • 10 children were in remand, detained or an other compulsory order
  • 590 children were looked after with an other legal status


Adoptions from Care

312 children were adopted from care during the year ending 31st March 2017.

Waiting times

For children adopted during the year ending 31st March 2015:

  • The average time between entry into care and adoption was 835 days (approximately 2 years 3 months)
  • The average time between the best interest decision and adoption was 579 days (approximately 1 year 7 months)

Foster Carer Adoptions

24 of the children adopted from care in the year ending 31st March 2017 were adopted by their former foster carer. This accounts for 8% of adoptions of looked after children.

Adopter Characteristics

During the year ending 31 March 2016:

  • 94% (320) of adoptions were by couples and 6% (20) were by single adopters
  • 6% (20) of all adoptions were by same sex couples



Welsh Government StatsWales: Children's Service Statistics

The StatsWales tables include data on children looked after by local authority, gender, age, ethnicity, legal status, placement type, children starting to be looked after and episodes finishing for children looked after as well as respite care. Data on adoptions is broken down by ethnicity, gender and marital status of adopters, age and gender of child, average age at adoption, foster carer adoptions and timeliness of adoption process. There are also tables on care leavers at 19th birthday, educational qualifications of care leavers and applications for adoption intermediary services.

Welsh Government:Children looked after by local authorities, 2016-17 (Experimental statistics) (formerly Adoptions, Outcomes and Placements for Children Looked After by Local Authorities)

This statistical first release presents figures about children looked after by Welsh local authorities and includes sections on placements, children looked after by need for care, children looked after leaving care, adoptions, educational attainments and qualifications and key quality information.