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National overview report in relation to care experienced children and young people in Wales

Our review of how well local authorities in Wales are supporting children and young people who are looked after to be safe and achieve positive outcomes.


The period since the implementation of the Social Services Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 has seen an increase in the number of children and young people becoming looked after by local authority children’s services. 

Our programme of work has enabled us to look closely at how well the needs of children and young people are being met.

We gathered our evidence through inspection of six local authority children’s and fostering services, and by reviewing twenty two Local Authority self evaluations.  We also spoke to over one hundred care experienced children and young people, and seventy-seven foster carers. 

Some of our key findings

We did not find evidence of children becoming looked after who should not have done so.

Children and young people told us positive relationships were a significant factor in achieving their outcomes. The significant pressures on the social work workforce and sufficiency of foster carers, make it difficult for children and young people to secure the positive and stable relationships that mean so much to them.  The needs and risks factors of care experienced children have increased in complexity. Most local authorities were struggling to meet their sufficiency duties and find suitable placements to meet the needs of children and young people, particularly children with complex needs. 

There needs to be more urgency given to commissioning a greater range of services and choice of placements to meet these complex needs by local authorities and their partners.  The rise in the number of children being looked after includes an increasing number of children being supported to remain with their family or with their parents under legal arrangements.

Next steps

We will share our findings through a learning event being planned in partnership with Social Care Wales.