The relationship between poverty and child maltreatment and by extension of being placed in out-of-home care is a well-established one. However, this study goes beyond recent UK studies on the scale of child welfare inequalities in the likelihood of being placed in out-of-home care by considering such inequalities over time. The study is an analysis of longitudinal administrative data on children ‘looked after’ with a specific focus on children entering care in the two years that followed the death of Peter Connelly in 2007, a period that saw a rapid increase in numbers of children entering care. The analysis considers these increases using a child welfare inequalities lens. There is a ‘social gradient’ present within the overall rates of children entering care, with children in the most deprived neighbourhoods almost twelve times more likely to enter care than those in the least deprived. Such inequalities are compounded further in times of rapidly increasing entries to care with children entering care being disproportionately drawn from the poorest neighbourhoods, illustrated by a 42-per cent increase in rates between the two years in the most deprived neighbourhoods whilst rates in the least deprived neighbourhoods fell or remained the same.

AuthorsDr Martin Elliott