THERE are 53,700 children and young people being looked after by English councils - a 4 per cent rise on 1998.
Many have been affected by distressing and damaging experiences, including physical and sexual abuse and neglect. Some are in care because of illness or death of a parent. The majority of looked-after children come from families who experience hardship. Two-thirds live in foster placements and the rest in residential provision or with families with social work support. l Approximately 6,500 are looked after in children's homes.
* In March 1998, 20 per cent of looked-after children were under five.
* Sixty per cent of children in care are subject to care orders.
* Looked-after children are six to eight times more likely to have a statement of special needs.
* Less than 2 per cent of young people are looked after because of offences they have committed.
* The majority of looked-after children are in mainstream school.