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
Adoption and Special Guardianship
  Adoptions from Care
  Special Guardianship


On 31 March 2020:

  • 7,172 children were in the care of local authorities, an increase of 5% on the previous year
  • This is a rate of 114 looked after children per 10,000 population under 18 years


On 31 March 2020:

  • 70% (4,990) of children looked after were living with foster carers. Of these 1,348 were relatives or friends foster carers.
  • 17% (1,200) were living with their parents or another person with parental responsibility
  • 7% (535) were living in secure units, children's homes or hostels
  • 3% (245) were placed for adoption
  • 3% (210) were living independently, in residential schools or in other placements

9% of children (640) looked after at 31 March 2020 had three or more placements during 2019-20.

Legal Status

On 31 March 2020 there were:

  • 6,030 children looked after under care orders
  • 565 children with a single period of accommodation
  • 15 children in remand, detained or with an other compulsory order
  • 560 children were looked after with an other legal status



Adoptions from Care

During the year ending 31 March 2020:

  • 295 children were adopted from care, with 30 (10%) adopted by their former foster carer
  • 90% (265) of adoptions were by couples and 10% (30) were by single adopters
  • 21% (55) of all adoptions were by same sex couples (35 male same sex couples and 20 female same sex couples

Special Guardianship

During the year ending 31 March 2020:

  • 170 children left care through a Special Guardianship Order
  • 76% (130) Special Guardianship Orders were made to former foster carers, and 24% (40) to carers other than former foster carers



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, 2019-20

No full statistical release has been published for April 2019 to March 2020 due to analytical resources prioritising the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a summary of the latest statistics and a link to the data tables on the StatsWales website are provided.