Looked After Children Longitudinal Dataset - Scotland

This dataset brings together data of care placements and the legal basis for children being in the care of local authorities across Scotland. This allows understanding of changes in the patterns of care over time and geography, and the relationship with children’s characteristics including ethnicity, disability, and religion. Information on the type of accommodation for the young person at the end of their episode of care is also provided in the data.

The Looked After Children Longitudinal Dataset can be linked to a wide range of other data available in Scotland including data on children attending publicly funded schools. See the ADR Scotland Data Catalogue for further information on available education datasets that can be linked for research purposes.

Component datasets and linkage

This dataset shows information on 60,000 looked after children in Scotland.

Timeframe 2008 - 2019
Update Frequency The dataset will be updated on an ad hoc basis
Population Looked after children
Coverage Scotland only
Size 60,000 children, 70,000 episodes of care, 147,000 care placements, 195,000 legal reasons
Looked After Children Longitudinal Dataset - Scotland


Examples of research questions

  • How do rates of ill health compare between care experienced children and young people and those who have not been in care?
  • How does health service use, such as in completing childhood vaccinations and attending doctors' appointments, differ beween care experienced children and young people and those who have not been in care?
  • What are the pathways out of formal kinship care? How do these differ over time?

Other supporting resources

Resource Description
Data Explained Data Explained on the Scottish Government’s Looked After Children Longitudinal Dataset.
Webinar recording A webinar recording is available providing an outline of the dataset, background information and examples of research use and linkage.
Researcher handbook An overview of data linkage access and administrative data research in Scotland.

Accessing the data

Data access requests to the Scottish Government can be made via the Statistics Public Benefit and Privacy Panel.

A completed application form should be submitted to statistics.enquiries@gov.scot.

View Looked After Children Longitudinal dataset

Information about policy research priorities

The Scottish Government published the Getting it right for looked after children and young people strategy in 2015, which outlines the steps being undertaken to improve the experiences and outcome of all looked after children.

You can find out more about existing evidence and gaps in the evidence base in the Evidence Framework by the independent care review.

“This significantly enhances the research potential of statistical data on children with experience of care. By making available anonymised individual-level data, academic research is possible exploring young people’s journey through the care system. Crucially, the potential to link to other datasets means that analysis of the experiences and outcomes of care-experienced people can be better understood, and this can inform future policy development.”

Craig Kellock, Children and Families Statistics Team Leader, Scottish Government