Skip to main content

Children In Care

Volume 978: debated on Thursday 7 February 1980

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many children in England and Wales are currently in the care of local authorities under section 1 (voluntary care) of the Children Act 1948, under section 2 (assumption of parental rights) of the Children Act 1948, under a care order as provided in section I of the Children Act 1969; and what is the total number of children in care.

On 31 March 1978, the latest date for which figures are available, 46,000 children in England and Wales were in care under section 1 of the Children Act 1948. In17,700 of these cases parental rights had been assumed by the local authority under section 2 of the Act. Approximately 26,500 children were in care on orders under section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969. The total number of children in care was 100,700.

asked the Secretary of State for the Social Services how many children in England and Wales were in the care of local authorities in 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970 and 1975, respectively; and how many of these were in voluntary care, in care as the result of assumption of parental rights and as the result of care orders in each year for which the figures are given.

The information is as follows:directly comparable with those for 1975. For 1960 to 1970 column (

e) shows child-

ren in the care of local authorities under fit person orders. Care orders were introduced in 1971 under the Children and Young Persons Act 1969 to replace both fit person orders and approved school orders.

Further information can be found in the annual reports to Parliament on children in care in England and Wales, copies of which are in the Library of the House. Paragraph 4 of the report for 1971 (Cmnd. 5100) deals with the effects of the Children and Young Persons Act 1969. The figure for 1975 in column ( e) excludes remand and interim care orders.

asked the Secretary of State for the Social Services if he will give the total number of children in England and Wales under 18 years of age in 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975 and at the latest date for which figures are available; and what proportion per 1,000 of these children were in care.

The information is as follows:

YearEstimated number of children under 18Number in care on 31 March per 1,000 of the estimated population under 18
196012,425,0005·0
196513,094,7005·1
197013,546,5005·3
197513,529,6007·3
197813,036,9007·4
I regret that figures for 1955 are not available. The ratio of children in care in the years 1960 to 1970 are not directly comparable with those for 1975 and 1978 because of changes in the legislation introduced in the intervening years.

asked the Secretary of State for the Social Services how many children under 18 years of age are estimated to have been admitted to care as the result of parents or guardians being homeless or as the result of the illness of a parent, respectively.

In the year ended 31 March 1978, the latest date for which figures are available, approximately 700 children were received into care in England and Wales because their families were homeless and 11,000 because of the illness or incapacity of parents or guardians.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many children admitted to care in 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, and at the latest date for which figures are available, were returned to the care of a parent or parents within a year of their admission.

I regret that information is not available in the form requested. Of the 41,100 children who left care in England and Wales during the year ended 31 March 1978, 25,000 had been in care for less than one year, but it is not known how many of these returned to their parents. No figures are available for the earlier years requested.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the total annual cost of keeping children in care in England and Wales at the latest date for which figures are available; and what was the equivalent cost in 1955, 1960, 1965, 1970 and 1975, respectively.

The total annual cost to local authorities in England and Wales of keeping children in care during 1978–79 was £226·7 million. This figure includes capital charges, but excludes administration and field social work costs which cannot be allocated to specific services; no deduction has been made in respect of parental contributions. The cost for 1974–75, revalued to 1978–79 prices level, is estimated to be about £185 million. Comparable figures for the other years are not available.