Committee:                             Corporate Parenting Panel


Date:                                      21 January 2022


Title of Report:                        Looked After Children (LAC) Statistics


By:                                           Director of Children’s Services


Purpose of Report:                 To update the Panel on changes in the last quarter



Recommendations:              The Corporate Parenting Panel is recommended to comment on and note the report.





1.         Background and supporting information


1.1           Services for Looked After Children (LAC) are predominantly funded from the Children’s Services base budget with some additional smaller funding streams supporting specific activity for example, Virtual School activity from the Pupil Premium Grant.


1.2       Data is drawn as a snapshot on the last day of the month and inevitably there will be some changes subsequently as data is cleansed, however as things stand currently, the past quarter has seen a slight increase in numbers of children and on the last day of December there were 620 children in care, up from 618 in September. The system remains extremely busy as children come in and go home and placements for existing children disrupt and they need to be moved, with continued difficulty in the supply of external agency placements when in-house capacity is full.


1.3       A total of 344 children were in foster care at the end of December, with 267 living with East Sussex County Council (ESCC) carers and a further 77 children living with agency carers, a rise of 3 over the quarter. In addition, we have 73 young people in supported housing options, homes or hostels, a decrease of 5 over the quarter. 17 children were placed for adoption, 8 further children being placed with foster carers who are also approved adopters under the Fostering for Adoption pathway.


1.4       At the end of the quarter 89 children with living with kinship foster carers.


1.5       The number of children living at home with their parents whilst remaining subject to a legal order to ESCC stood at 21. Planning for placements of this sort is always monitored rigorously to mitigate any risk factors. Agreement to begin or end a placement with parents is given at a senior level, unless it is court mandated when realistically ESCC has no choice in the matter.


1.6       At the end of December, the number of children living in residential children’s homes has stayed stable at 62. Staff continue to make every effort to place children in our in-house homes before they seek agreement from a senior manager for an agency placement and robust negotiations on both quality and price are a feature of every external placement search. The building works at the new children’s home in Hastings are still not finished and once the building is handed over to CSD, the Ofsted registration will need to be completed before it can open. 


1.7       At the end of December 1 ESCC child remain secured at Lansdowne. Exit planning is ongoing for this child with the hope that they will be able to move shortly and once their new placement has completed its Ofsted registration. Another young person left secure provision just before Christmas following significant work with both the agency provider and with Ofsted to complete the registration of the home in time for their move, timescales being dictated by the ending of their Secure Order.   


1.8       At the end of the quarter there were 2 children remanded for criminal activity, one to custody and 1 to the care of ESCC. Both were accorded LAC status by virtue of their remands and for both, their LAC status will end when they are sentenced.       


1.9    60 young people were seeking asylum at the end of December, down 4 over the quarter. Some young people seeking asylum and already in our care turned 18 during this quarter and so moved out of these numbers but remained eligible for ongoing support as care leavers. ESCC continues to take part in the National Transfer Scheme that is now mandated by the Government.   


1.10     The numbers of children subject to Child Arrangement/Residence Orders have stayed steady at 342 and the number of children placed with a Special Guardianship Order has increased by 7 to 466.   


1.11     There were no complaints from a LAC in the last quarter. 



2.         Conclusion and recommendations


2.1       Pressure on the system continues, driven by complexity of children and costs for placements. External agency placements remain very scarce. 


2.2       The Corporate Parenting Panel are recommended to comment on and note the report.





Director of Children’s Services



Liz Rugg, Assistant Director, Early Help and Social Care

Tel: 01273 481274      



Children's Services LAC Summary between 01/01/2021 and 31/12/2021