Number of Scottish children in care falls for fourth year

The number of looked after children in Scotland has declined for the fourth year in a row, with two per cent of the nation's youngsters either in the care of a local authority or on the child protection register.

The report revealed there were 15,317 children being looked after by local authorities as at July last year. Picture: Michael Gillen/JP

The official statistics, published today, include information on children who were looked after, on the child protection register, or in secure care accommodation.

The report revealed there were 15,317 children being looked after by local authorities as at July last year - down 83 (one per cent) from 2015 and a fall from a high of 16,248 in 2012.

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The children’s social work statistics show foster care was the most common type of accommodation for looked after young people, accounting for more than a third (35 per cent), while 10 per cent were in residential care.

The number of adoptions of looked after children reached its highest recorded level, with 8% of children leaving care adopted.

The figures also show a rise in the use of permanence orders, under which the sheriff court can transfer the right to decide where a child lives to the local authority.

The use of such orders has increased every year since 2012, and now stands at 1,971, up 12% from 2015.

At the end of 2016 there were 2,723 children on the child protection register, down 1% on the previous year.

A total of 88 young people were in secure care accommodation.