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Children In Care

Volume 978: debated on Thursday 7 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the average cost per child in care per week in Scotland.

The estimated average cost of a child in residential care or foster care was £50 per week in 1977–78. This excludes local authority central staff and administration costs and loan charges, which cannot be identified separately.

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

Expenditure in respect of children in residential care or foster care was as follows:

1955–56£1·7 million
1960–61£2·5 million
1965–66£3·8 million
1970–71£6·5 million
1975–76£20·0 million
1977–78£26·5 million
Figures are net of income and exclude local authority central staff and administration costs and loan charges, which cannot be identified separately.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if legal aid is available to parents in care proceedings in which there is a possible conflict between the interests of the child and the wish of the parents; and if he will make a statement.

In Scotland legal aid may be made available for all types of care proceedings before the courts, including appeals from children's hearings under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. Legal aid does not arise in proceedings before children's hearings themselves, since these are essentially informal and non-adversarial.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many children in Scotland 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 the assumption of parental rights and in care as the result of care

Total No. of children in care (or under supervision where appropriateNo. in voluntary careNo. under parental rights resolutionsNo. with supervision requirement from children's hearings
(1)(2)(3)(4)
195510,070Not availableNot availableNot applicable
19609,680
196510,457
197011,0088,687707
*197617,3187,7581,5378,921
*No figures were collected for 1975; a new statistical system was introduced from 31 March 1976
There are no care orders in Scotland. Figures for 1976 include children subject to supervision requirements made by children's hearings set up in 1971 under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many children in Scotland are currently in the care of local authorities; and how many of these are in voluntary care as the result of the assumption of parental rights and under a care order, respectively.

Figures at 31 March 1978 are as follows:

No. of children in care or under supervision17,107
No. in voluntary care7,634
YearEstimated population aged 0–17 (thousands)Children in care or under supervision (thousands)Rate per thousand children aged 0–17
19551,494·110·16·7
19601,557·89·76·2
19651,585·310·56·6
19701,597·011·06·9
1976*1,519·517·311·4
19781,458·717·111·7
* No figures were collected for 1975: a new statistical system was introduced from 31 March 1976.
The figures for 1976 and 1978 include children subject to supervision requirements made by children's hearings set up in 1971 under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968; they are not therefore directly comparable with figures given for earlier years.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland 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.

orders in each year for which the figures are given.

Available information is set out in the table below:

No. under parental rights resolutions1,410*
No. with supervision requirement from children's hearings8,871
* Excluding Glasgow and Ayr Divisons of Strathclyde for which detailed information is not available.

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

For the year ended 31 March 1978 figures for Scotland, excluding Glasgow and Ayr divisions of Strathclyde, for which information is not available, are as follows:

Reasons for admission to careNo. of children
Family being homeless194
Short-term illness of parent457
Long-term illness of parent34

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland 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.

In the year ended 31 March 1978, 2,474 children in Scotland—excluding the Glasgow and Ayr Divisions of Strathclyde, for which figures are not available—were discharged from care or had their supervision requirement ended after spending less than a year in care or under supervision. Information about the number of those children who were returned to the care of their parents could not be obtained without disproportionate cost. No information is available for the earlier years.