Over 400 Children Have Died in the Care of the State, Figures Show


A total of 440 children have died in care over the last 10 years, government figures show.

Of those, 390 were housed in regulated accommodation such as foster or children’s homes, while 50 were in unregulated housing, including bedsits or hostels.

The Department for Education (DfE) figures, covering 2012 to 2022, show the deaths of “looked after” under-18s amounts to 130 deaths per 100,000 children in care.

That is more than 16 times higher than the latest overall UK child mortality figure showing eight deaths per 100,000 children nationally, according to the Office for National Statistics.

More than 306,000 children had been in care for unknown periods during that time.

The highest number of deaths occurred in the 16- to 18-year-old age group, with 130 children recorded as having passed away while under the care of the state.

Fifty of those died while in unregulated accommodation, which the DfE said includes “independent living or placements in semi-independent accommodation not subject to children’s home regulations.”

The second highest deaths according to age were recorded in the 10- to 15-year-old group, where 110 deaths of those living in regulated housing were recorded.

A total of 100 infants under the age of 1 died while being cared for in regulated accommodation, and 110 between the ages of 1 to 9 years old passed away while living in similar housing.

Mental Health

The figures come after Mr. Johnston’s department was ordered by a judge to hand over a report detailing 48 cases of children who died or suffered serious harm in care to a children’s rights charity.

The First-Tier Tribunal General Regulatory Chamber ruled earlier this month that the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel report—shared with the DfE during judicial review proceedings in 2021—be produced to group Article 39.

The charity was behind a legal challenge on secondary legislation which, from September 2021, restricted the types of placements for children in care aged 15 and under, so that they can no longer be accommodated in properties not registered or inspected by Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission, or in properties where they receive no day-to-day care.

The same protection was not provided for children in care aged 16 and 17.

A short summary of the panel’s report led Article 39 to believe that “its contents were highly relevant to policy development concerned with the safety and welfare of older children in care.”

It included that adolescent children involved in crime or “gang-related activities” continued being involved in the activities after being taken into the care of the state.

It also stated that “high levels of placement breakdown occurred” when children were placed in emergency unregulated placements where “mental health and other support were disrupted.”


The charity was refused a copy of the full report from the DfE under the Freedom of Information Act in December 2021.

The information commissioner later backed the DfE’s refusal in October 2022.

However the information rights tribunal found last week that the public interest favours disclosure of the report.

The DfE has now been ordered to provide the charity with the full document within 30 days.

“As the lead government department for child protection, we should have been pushing at an open door.

“Instead, our small charity has had to invest considerable time and resources in seeking basic transparency.”

She added, “As the tribunal confirmed, the Panel’s very purpose is to advance child protection—that cannot be achieved by its members sitting on this report, or any other document, which could significantly improve learning and action to safeguard children.”

Source: The Epoch Times