Children in Need Census - Wales

This dataset provides insight into the numbers and characteristics of children in need, including parental circumstances, health and educational outcomes. Following the commencement of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act in April 2016, the children in need census was discontinued and replaced by the children receiving care and support census (CRCS). This dataset was created by the Welsh Government.

Component datasets and linkage

This has been replaced by the Children Receiving Care and Support Census.

Timeframe 20 September 2005 - 31 March 2016
Update Frequency Annual
Population Children in need
Coverage Wales only
Size 3,000,000

Core documentation

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User guide

None available. 

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Data dictionary

Information about the data is available on the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway.


Other supporting resources

Resource Description
Stats Wales Reports on the Children Looked After dataset. Show numbers and characteristics of children looked after by local authorities, including placement and legal status.
SAIL Databank: Data use register A register of approved projects using the data.
Children in Need Census Information about the data linkage.
Data Explained: Children in Need and Children Receiving Care and Support, administrative records in Wales This Data Explained summarises experiences and learnings from working with the Children in Need and Children Receiving Care and Support dataset.


Published research using the data

  • Lyons, R.A., Jones, K.H., John, G. et al. (2009). The SAIL Databank: linking multiple health and social care datasets. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. 9, 3. DOI: 

  • Lee, A., Elliott, M., Scourfield, J., et al. (2022). Data resource: Children receiving care and support and children in need, administrative records in Wales. International Journal of Population Data Science, 7(1). DOI:

Accessing the data

Containing billions of person-based records, SAIL Databank is a rich and trusted population databank. Following application and approval, it provides researchers with secure, fully linkable and anonymised data that can be accessed and analysed from anywhere in the world. SAIL can also anonymously link new data uploaded by users to existing routinely-collected data within SAIL (subject to approvals).

SAIL Databank has established a convenient and effective two stage application process for researchers who would like to access data via the SAIL Databank for high quality research projects.

Costs are dependent on support and infrastructure needs related to your project (such as time for data preparation and use of computing resources). In practice, this means that there is a cost for most projects. This varies based on the complexity of the project, the support you would like from us, and the type of funding. These costs are detailed during the scoping process. Find out more.

View further details and apply for access using the information on the ADR UK Data Catalogue.

View Children in Need Census Wales 

Information about policy research priorities

The number of children and young people in Wales who require state care has risen in recent years. Outcomes in various domains relating to education, health and wellbeing for these children are poor. The Welsh Government Programme for Government 2021-2026 sets out commitments relating to the care of looked after children.

In addition, the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act priorities underpin research in this area.