Reporting Year 2021

Looked after children aged 16 to 17 in independent or semi-independent placements

This is the latest dataAd hoc statistics
Published

Introduction

Statistics on the number and characteristics of children looked-after (CLA) in 2020-21 aged 16 to 17 placed in independent or semi-independent accommodation. 


Headline facts and figures - 2021

  • There were 5,980 children looked after (CLA) aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent living accommodation at 31st of March 2021. This is equivalent to almost a third of all CLA aged 16 to 17 (32%).
  • There is a higher proportion of children aged 16 to 17 in these placements who were unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) (32% living independently and 34% in semi-independent accommodation) compared to the national average for 16 to 17 year old CLA (18%).
  • Around three quarters were aged 17 while one quarter were 16 for both independent and semi-independent living accommodation.
  • The majority of CLA aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent accommodation were male (67% and 70% respectively at 31st of March 2021) which is higher than for all CLA aged 16 to 17 (61%).
  • Compared to all CLA aged 16 to 17, a higher proportion of these children are on voluntary agreements under S20 (69% for living independently and 70% in semi-independent accommodation compared to 41% for all CLA aged 16 to 17). They are also more likely to be in private provision (77% and 84% for children aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent accommodation respectively, compared to 54% for all CLA aged 16 to 17).
  • A higher proportion of children aged 16 to 17 move into semi-independent accommodation within a week of starting to be looked after   (37%) compared to moving into independent living and all CLA aged 16 to 17 (30% for both).
     

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Number of children at 31 March

There were 5,980 children looked after (CLA) aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent living accommodation at 31st of March 2021. This is down by 7% from 2020, but an increase of 87% since 2012.

The proportion of all CLA aged 16 to 17 living independently has fallen from 17% in 2012 to 10% in 2021, while the proportion in semi-independent living accommodation has risen from 6% in 2012 to 22% in 2021.

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC)

A higher proportion of children aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent accommodation at 31st of March 2021 were UASC (32% and 34% respectively) compared to all CLA 16 to 17 (18%).

Age at 31 March

Of those CLA in independent or semi-independent accommodation aged 16 to 17, around a quarter were 16 (23% in independent and 24% in semi-independent accommodation) and around three quarters were 17 (77% in independent and 76% in semi-independent accommodation). This compares to all CLA aged 16 to 17 where 44% are 16 and 56% are 17.

Sex

There was a higher proportion of boys living independently (67%) or in semi-independent accommodation (70%) at 31st of March 2021 compared to all CLA (61%). This is being driven by the higher proportion of UASC in these settings. When looking at CLA in these settings who were not UASC, the proportion of boys is 55% and 58% for independent living and semi-independent accommodation respectively  which is in line with the national average.

Ethnic origin

There was a higher proportion of CLA from Other Ethnic groups living independently (17%) or in semi-independent accommodation (15%) than the national average of CLA aged 16 to 17 (9%). The proportion of all CLA who are Black or Black British children and aged 16 or 17 (12%) is similar to the proportion in independent accommodation (13%) but lower than the proportion in semi-independent living (20%). These differences are driven by higher proportion of UASC in these settings. 

Disability

Around 8% of children aged 16 to 17 living in independent and semi-independent accommodation had a disability compared to 14% of all CLA aged 16 to 17. This data has been obtained by matching to the Children in Need census data. Data was unavailable for a small number of cases.

The majority of children aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent accommodation were on a voluntary agreement under S20 (69% living independently and 70% in semi-independent accommodation, compared to 15% of all CLA at 31st of March 2021). For all CLA aged 16 to 17, the majority were on a care order (58%) or a voluntary agreement under S20 (41%).

Placement provider

The majority of children aged 16 to 17 living independently or in semi-independent accommodation were in private provision (77% and 84% respectively) at 31st of March 2021, a much higher proportion than all CLA aged 16 to 17 (54%).

Locality of placement

The proportion of children aged 16 to 17 placed inside the local authority is higher for children living independently (70%) compared to those in semi-independent accommodation (58%). The average for all CLA aged 16 to 17 (56%) is similar to that of those in semi-independent accommodation. 


Note that distance from home has not been reported here due to the large number in the ‘not known or not recorded’ group. Where a child is UASC a home postcode is not submitted and the distance from home is therefore ‘unknown’.

Time to start of placement

Children living independently move into these placements around the same pace as all CLA aged 16 to 17. Children in semi-independent accommodation have a higher proportion moving into their placements in less than a week (37%) compared to all CLA aged 16 to 17 (30%).

Help and support

Ad hoc official statistics

Ad hoc official statistics are one off publications that have been produced as far as possible in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

This can be broadly interpreted to mean that these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

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If you have a specific enquiry about Looked after children aged 16 to 17 in independent or semi-independent placements statistics and data:

Children's Social Care Analysis and Research

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