Investigating health outcomes for care experienced children

Children who are in the care of their local authority (care experienced children, ‘CEC’) are one of the most vulnerable groups of people in the society. In 2017, approximately 15,000 children in Scotland were visited by social care workers at home or placed in kinship, residential or foster care.

These children often experience disadvantage compared to other young people, such as having to move homes or change schools frequently. Currently, very little is known about the health of CEC or how this compares to other children in Scotland. The small amount of evidence there is suggests that this group of children are more likely to experience poor health, such as worse mental health compared to other children.

Our research aims to provide the first national level evidence on the health, pregnancy and mortality rates for CEC in Scotland.

Our project links different administrative data sources, such as social care, hospitalisation, birth and death registrations data, for children who were in school and experiencing care in 2009. The care experiences (the type, length and number of placements) and health outcomes for these children will be followed over seven years up to 2016. The health of CEC will then be compared to the health of school children who did not experience care between 2009 and 2016.


Mirjam Allik 
Denise Brown

Supported by

Alastair Leyland
Marion Henderson

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