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:
On 31 March 2020:
- 80,080 children were in the care of local authorities, up 2% on 31 March 2019
- the rate of looked after children per 10,000 children under 18 years was 67 (up from 65 in 2019, 64 in 2018 and 60 in 2015)
On 31 March 2020:
- 72% (57,658) of children looked after were living with foster carers (14% in a foster placement with a relative or a friend, 58% with a foster carer who is not a relative or a friend)
- 13% (10,410) were living in secure units, children's homes or semi-independent living
- 7% (5,606) were placed with their parents
- 3% (2,402) were placed for adoption
- 3% (2,402) were living independently or in residential employment
68% of looked after children had one placement in the year, 21% had two placements, and 11% had three or more placements
On 31 March 2020, of the 57,380 children in foster placements:
- 34,990 (61%) were placed inside the council boundary
- 11,570 (20%) were being fostered by a relative or friend
- 380 (0.7%) were in placements where the carer is also an approved adopter (fostering for adoption) or where they were subject to concurrent planning
On 31 March 2020:
- 61,320 (77%) children looked after under care orders
- 13,600 (17%) children looked after under voluntary agreements under Section 20 of Children's Act 1989
- 4,850 (6%) children looked after had a placement order granted
3,440 looked after children were adopted during the year ending 31 March 2020
3,880 children had an adoption best interest decision but were not yet placed at 31 March 2020
2,440 children had a placement order but were not yet placed at 31 March 2020
459 - the average number of days between a child entering care and moving in with its adoptive family during the year 2019-20 (Adoption scorecard indicator A1)
190 - the average number of days between an LA receiving court authority to place a child and the LA deciding on a match to an adoptive family during the year 2019-20 (Adoption scorecard indicator A2)
During year ending 31 March 2020:
- 89% (3,050) of children were adopted by couples and 11% (390) by single adopters.
- 17% (570) of children were adopted by same sex couples (either in a civil partnership, married or neither).
Department for Education: Children looked after in England including adoption: 2019 to 2020
The Department for Education Children looked after in England statistics include tables providing a breakdown of children in care by age, gender, ethnicity, legal status, reason for being in care, reasons for placement changes for children who moved placement in the year, fostering for adoption and concurrent planning, special guardianship, duration of latest period of care, adoption placements and care leavers activities, accommodation, children looked after who were missing, offending and substance misuse by looked after children, development, health, emotional health
The Adoption and Special Guardianship Leadership Board data reports on how local authority adoption agencies and voluntary adoption agencies are performing. Data covers children waiting for adoption, progress through the adoption process, characteristics of children waiting, characteristics of children adopted, child timeliness, adoptive families progress through the adoption process, prospective adopters waiting and adopter timeliness.