At the end of March last year, there were 1,942 children in residential schools, children's homes, hostels and homes for children with disabilities. But admissions in the year up to March totalled 9,710.
"There is a regular churn of children through residential care," the Scottish Executive points out. Some stay for less than a month but 268 had been in care for more than three years.
The size of establishments varies from eight places in local authorities to 18 in the voluntary and independent sectors. But there is little difference in staffing with an average two staff per place in each sector. Staff numbers are up 8 per cent over the previous year.