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Publication of ‘Northern Ireland Care Leavers Aged 19 2011/12’

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety today published a statistical bulletin summarising information on care leavers aged 19 in Northern Ireland who left care during the year ending 31 March 2012.
Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Key findings indicate care leavers continue to have higher proportions of young people coping with disability (13%) than in the general population (6%), and in terms of the length of the latest period in care, 47% spent less than five years in care, 28% between five and nine years, with 25% spending 10 years or more.

In terms of becoming a parent, a fifth (20%) of all care leavers aged 19 were parents, with 31% of female care leavers aged 19 becoming mothers on or before their 19th birthday. A figure over six times that of teenage mothers in the general population.

Social services staff reported that 92% of care leavers aged 19 with whom they had contact, were living in suitable accommodation, three percentage points lower than in 2010/11 (95%).

Economically, of care leavers for whom information was available, 56% were in education, training or employment, a decrease of seven percentage points from 2010/11. Furthermore, this was lower than 19 year old care leavers in touch with local authorities in England, where 61% were in education, training or employment, but higher than in Wales (52%).

Summary Key Findings

  • During the year ending 31st March 2012, 215 young people who had been in care on 1 April 2009, reached their 19th birthday; of these, 48% (104) were males and 52% (111) were females;
  • 31% of female care leavers aged 19 became mothers on or before their 19th birthday, five percentage points higher than the previous year 2010/11 (26%), and over six times that to teenage mothers in the general population (5%);
  • In 2011/12, the average length of time spent in care was six years three months, which was shorter than that for the previous year 2010/11 (six years eight months);
  • Trusts remained in contact with 97% of care leavers aged 19 in 2011/12, the same proportion as in 2010/11 though an increase of 25 percentage points since 2003/04 (72%);
  • The number of care leavers aged 19 in education, training or employment decreased by seven percentage points, from 63% in 2010/11 to 56% in 2011/12. This figure is slightly lower than in England (58%) but higher than in Wales (47%). Of the care leavers with whom the Trusts were in touch, 58% were in education, training or employment;
  • Social services staff reported that 92% of care leavers aged 19 with whom they had contact, were living in suitable accommodation, three percentage points lower than in 2010/11 (95%).

Notes to editors:

1. All publications are available on line

2. About the data:

  • The source of the data contained in this release is the Departmental OC3 statistical return, collected from HSC Trusts on an annual basis.
  • Figures incorporate all returns and amendments received from HSC Trusts up to 31 January 2012.

3. This statistical bulletin was produced by Community Information Branch, DHSSPS.

Further information is available from:

Community Information Branch
Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
Room 11, Annexe 2,
Castle Buildings,
Stormont Belfast BT4 3SQ

Tel: (028) 90 520727
Fax: (028) 90 523288
E-mail: cib@dhsspsni.gov.uk
Internet: http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index/stats_research/stats-cib/statistics_and_research-cib-pub/children_statistics/stats_and_research_cib_care_leavers_aged19.htm

4. Media queries to DHSSPS Information Office on 02890 520074, or out of hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.