National statistics

Characteristics of children in need: 2017 to 2018

Children referred to and assessed by children's social services for the year ending 31 March 2018.

Applies to England



The documents were updated on 7 December 2018 due to an issue with the female genital mutilation (FGM) assessment factor figure in Northamptonshire. The main text, tables and underlying data documents were updated after confirming the correct data with the local authority. 

Information on:

  • children in need of social services
  • children referred to social services
  • assessments undertaken and primary need at first assessment
  • section 47 enquiries (a local authority carries out one of these if they suspect a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm) and initial child protection conferences
  • children who were the subject of a child protection plan

It is based on child-level data collected via the children in need census.

In agreement with the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA), these statistics have been re-designated as National Statistics following a review of the methodology. This followed the identification of an inconsistency in the derivation of the ‘in need’ measure in 2016 to 2017, which has been rectified within the current publication. See the data quality and uses document for further information.

The outcomes tables show figures that result from matching the children in need census to the national pupil database (NPD). These tables show children in need by:

  • free school meals (FSM)
  • special educational needs (SEN)
  • attainment
  • absence
  • exclusions

The outcomes methodology document explains the matching process and calculations used in these tables.

Children’s services statistics team - CIN


Telephone: Chris Gray 01325 340854

Published 25 October 2018
Last updated 11 April 2019 + show all updates
  1. Updated to include tables on outcomes of children in need.

  2. Updated the main text, tables and underlying data documents to correct an issue with the female genital mutilation assessment factor figure in Northamptonshire.

  3. Documents updated because of a processing issue in the ONS population estimates for the years 2012 to 2013 and 2013 to 2014. New documents include corrected rates per 10,000 children and population figures for these years.

  4. First published.