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OC1 - Northern Ireland Care Leavers

This statistical bulletin presents summary information on young people aged 16-18 years who left care in Northern Ireland during the year ending 31 March. The information, on which this report is based, derives from the annual OC1 survey, introduced in Northern Ireland in 2002,.and completed by each HSC Trust. The survey collects data on the educational achievements and economic activity of young people leaving care, their age, religion, ethnic group, disability, length of time in care, and latest care placement.
The most recent statistcal bulletin reports the findings from the fifth OC1 survey for the year ending 31st March 2009.
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Key findings from the latest survey (2008/09) show that:
  • 225 young people aged 16-18 left care during the year ending 31 March 2009, of which 53% (119) were girls and 106 (47%) were boys.
  • There were almost equal proportions of Catholic (46%) and Protestant (47%) care leavers during 2008/09.
  • The majority of care leavers were of White ethnic background (97%).
  • Just over 18% of care leavers in 2008/09 were disabled, compared with 6% of all young people of this age in Northern Ireland with a long-term limiting illness.
  • Almost one quarter of those (24%) leaving care in 2008/09 had received a Statement of Special Educational Need, compared with 4% of the general school population.
  • The proportion of care leavers in foster care increased from 37% in 2007/08 to 43% in 2008/09.
  • 20% of care leavers in 2008/09 had been in care for 10 years or longer.
  • 67% of care leavers left care because they had reached 18 years of age.
  • 11% of care leavers left care with 5 GCSEs (grades A*-C) or higher, compared with 67% of general school leavers.
  • Just below half (48%) of care leavers had no qualifications at all, compared to 3% of Northern Ireland school leavers.
  • 71% of care leavers in foster care achieved GCSEs or other qualifications.
  • Of those for whom information was available in 2008/09, two fifths were in education or training (40%), 32% were unemployed, 12% were working and 16% were economically inactive.
  • Care leavers who had obtained no qualifications were over two and a half times as likely as those with qualifications to be unemployed or economically inactive.
  • Young people whose last placement had been foster care appeared to be at an economic advantage on leaving care, with almost four in five (76%) in education, training or employed.
The Statistical Press release for 'Northern Ireland Care Leavers Aged 16-18 Statistical Bulletin 2008/09' is available to view at:
Statistical bulletins are available to view or download below.
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