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Examining the link between neighbourhood deprivation and an individual measure of socio-economic circumstances for Looked After Children in the Pupil Census

Research overview

In 2015 around 2% of Scotland’s children were classed as either Looked After by a Local Authority or on the Child Protection Register (Children’s Social Work Statistics, 2014-15). Professionals and researchers both agree that there is a link between deprivation and the chances of a child experiencing a child welfare intervention, but there is very little research that looks at this link in more detail.

This research aims to find out if the correlation between area deprivation levels and the rate of child welfare interventions found in previous studies still exists when the Pupil Census is linked to area deprivation data.


Benefits

Understanding the links between neighbourhood deprivation and individual measures of socio-economic circumstances in the Pupil Census can help us understand how the government can better support Looked After Children.


More about the project

In 2015 around 2% of Scotland’s children were classed as either Looked After by a Local Authority or on the Child Protection Register (Children’s Social Work Statistics, 2014-15). Although acknowledged by professionals and researchers alike, the role that deprivation plays in the chances of a child experiencing a child welfare intervention has been under researched.
 
To address this issue, a pilot study in England examined the relationship between child welfare intervention rates and deprivation – measured using the Index of Multiple Deprivation. They found that as area deprivation levels increased, so did the rate of child welfare interventions. An extension of this study is currently underway to see if these findings are replicated in a larger area within England, Wales, Northern Ireland and ten Local Authorities in Scotland.
 
It is unknown to what extent the neighbourhood deprivation measures used in either the pilot or the extension study corresponded to the individuals’ socio-economic circumstances as no individual measures of deprivation were included. As many individual measures of socio-economic circumstances are difficult to obtain due to their sensitive nature, the inclusion of neighbourhood measures as a viable proxy for individual measures is commonplace.
 
Using data from the Pupil Census, this study aims to explore the association between neighbourhood measures of deprivation and individual measures of socio-economic circumstances, to examine how well the neighbourhood measure may act as a proxy. A further aim is to explore whether either or both measures are associated with whether a child is recorded as being Looked After by a Local Authority.


Government departments

Scottish Government


Date approved

December 2016


Lead researcher

Jade Hooper, University of Edinburgh


Page last updated: 24/10/2017