Data set from Children looked after in England including adoptions

CLA starting during the year by characteristics - NATIONAL

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Children who started to be looked after during the year, by gender, age on starting, category of need, ethnicity, legal status, unaccompanied asylum seeking child status, previous permanence and placement type. 

Data formerly in tables C1 and C2.

Data set details

Children's social care
Children looked after in England including adoptions
Release type
Geographic levels
  • Number
  • Percentage
  • Characteristic
Time period
2019 to 2023

Data set preview

Table showing first 5 rows, from underlying data
2023Reporting yearNationalE92000001EnglandAge on starting1 to 4 years484015
2023Reporting yearNationalE92000001EnglandAge on starting10 to 15 years891027
2023Reporting yearNationalE92000001EnglandAge on starting16 years and over907027
2023Reporting yearNationalE92000001EnglandAge on starting5 to 9 years473014
2023Reporting yearNationalE92000001EnglandAge on startingTotal children33000100

Variables in this data set

Table showing all 3 variables
Variable nameVariable description


  1. Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10. Percentages rounded to the nearest whole number. Historical data may differ from older publications which is mainly due to amendments made by local authorities after the previous publication. However, users looking for a longer time series may wish to check for the equivalent table in earlier releases of this publication. Figures exclude children looked after under a series of short-term placements. 
  2. Only the first occasion on which a child started to be looked after in the LA during year has been counted. The care of a small number of children each year is transferred between LAs, in national figures these children will be counted as starting once within each LA. For more information see the methodology document.
  3. FFA relates to Fostering for Adoption. Foster placements 'not FFA or concurrent planning' include children in long term foster placements.
  4. Category of need is the main category of the eight “need codes” at the time the child started to be looked after.
  5. In 2023 there were 13 secure units in England, therefore most placements will inevitably be outside the council boundary.
  6. 'Youth Justice legal statuses' refers to children: remanded to LA accommodation or youth detention accommodation under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012; placed in LA accommodation under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984; or, sentenced to a youth rehabilitation order with residence or intensive fostering requirement under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (as amended).
  7. Following the introduction of the National Transfer Scheme (NTS) in 2016, there has been an agreement between local authorities to transfer UASC to ensure a more equitable distribution of UASC across all local authorities. This means that some UASC will be counted more than once in the national and regional CLA starting and ceasing figures if they started or ceased to be looked after within more than one local authority during the year. In 2019, the number of UASC starts included 340 young people who had transferred from another LA; this had increased to 1,030 in 2023 following the mandation of the NTS in February 2022.

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