Identifying inequalities in child welfare intervention rates: UK comparative studies

RESEARCH REPORT

Authors: Martin Elliott and Jonathan Scourfield

Year: 2017

Summary:

This report is about the connection between social inequality and child welfare interventions. We analysed routine administrative data from Welsh local authorities on the children on child protection registers and in care (looked after) on 31 March 2015.

The experiences and outcomes of children and young people from Wales receiving Secure Accommodation Orders

Research report (summary)

Authors: Annie Williams, Hannah Bayfield, Martin Elliott, Jennifer Lyttleton-Smith, Rhiannon Evans, Honor Young, Sara Long (2019)

Summary:

Social Care Wales commissioned a project to explore the experiences of children and young people from Wales who received Secure Accommodation Orders between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2018. This project aimed to get a better understanding of the experiences of children and young people from Wales before, during and after their time in secure or alternative accommodation.

Charting the rise of children and young people looked-after in Wales

This chapter summary is from the book Children and Young People ‘Looked After’? Education, Intervention and the Everyday Culture of Care in Wales.

This chapter uses publicly available data on children looked-after to consider the significant increases in the numbers of children being placed in care over the last decade. The findings that are presented and discussed are drawn from a larger doctoral research study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which sought to find explanations for the variation in rates of children looked-after between local authorities in Wales.

The overview provided by the data highlights the impact of factors such as the death of Peter Connelly on rates of children in care in both England and Wales. However, it also shows that, unlike in England, rates of children looked after were rising in Wales before that event and have risen more significantly since, suggesting that other factors are also at work.

As well as the difference in the rates that children are taken into care in Wales relative to England, what is shown is the marked differences between local authorities in Wales. The picture here is complex, with some local authorities having rates that are consistently above the national average and conversely some that are shown over time to be consistently below.  There are also some that appear to buck the prevailing trend for reasons that are not clearly understood.

One of the factors briefly explored in the chapter that helps to explain some of the variation between local authorities is the overall levels of deprivation within each authority.  The amount of ‘neighbourhoods’ that a local authority contains that are in the 10% most deprived in Wales are shown to have a statistical relationship to that local authority’s rate of children looked after. Whilst this relationship doesn’t explain all of the difference that is observed, it does highlight the impact of poverty on children’s chances of being placed in care. 

children and young people looked after

Chapter 2

Children and Young People ‘Looked After’? Education, Intervention and the Everyday Culture of Care in Wales

This is the third in a blog series relating to the recently released book “Children and Young People ‘Looked After’? Education, Intervention and the Everyday Culture of Care in Wales”. Read the other blogs in this series:

Chapter 6 – Gemma Allnatt 
Chapter 7 – Dr Alyson Rees