Healthy futures: supporting and promoting the health needs of looked after children

 All children have health needs, and local authorities now have a major role in meeting these.

But looked after children and young people have higher levels of health needs than their peers, and these are often met less successfully – leading to poorer outcomes. In particular, they have significantly more prevalent and more serious emotional and mental health needs (mainly because of the frequency with which these children enter care with problems arising from poverty, abuse, neglect, or trauma from other family circumstances).

In recognition of the work that is already underway in many local areas, there are seven case studies of positive initiatives in local authorities around the country. These provide a useful starting point for local councils to take practical action in their own areas.

Numbers and circumstances

  • There are over 70,000 looked after children in England.
  • Six per cent of looked after children are unaccompanied asylum seekers.
  • The majority (75 per cent) of looked after children are placed with foster carers.
  • Over 60 per cent of children in care are looked after due to abuse and neglect.

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