Reporting Year 2020

Characteristics of children in need

This is the latest data
UK statistics authority quality mark
Published

This statistics publication provides the latest information on children referred to children’s social care, assessments carried out upon those children and whether a child became the subject of a child protection plan. 

The statistics in this publication are derived from information collected in the children in need census. The Department for Education has collected the children in need census from local authorities for each full 12 month period since 2009 to 2010. The latest collection covers the year from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020. More information on the children in need census is available in the guide to submitting data.


Headline facts and figures - 2020

  • There were 389,260 children in need at 31 March 2020, a decrease of 2.6% from the same point in 2019.
  • This was a rate of 323.7 per 10,000 children, down from 334.2 last year and the lowest rate in the last 8 years.
  • There were 51,510 children in need on child protection plans, a decrease of 1.4% from the same point in 2019.
  • This was a rate of 42.8 per 10,000 children, down from 43.7 last year.
  • There were 642,980 referrals during the year, a decrease of 1.0% compared to 2019.
  • Domestic violence by the parent was identified as a factor at the end of assessment in 169,860 episodes of need and remains the most common factor.

Help and support

Create your own tables

Explore our range of data and build your own tables from it.

Create tables