New Dataset Made Available for Research: The ‘Children Looked After’ Census
The recent contribution of the ‘Children Looked After’ Census dataset to the Secure Anonymised Information (SAIL) Databank for research purposes, marks a significant step forward for children in Wales that come into contact with the care system.
These data will give approved researchers the opportunity to explore and understand in greater detail the journey of children through the care system and what happens to them when they leave. Using data linkage techniques, it will also be possible to gain a clearer picture of additional factors around children in care, by linking the new dataset with other data such as health, education and family justice.
This rich source of information has been shared with the research community by the Welsh Government in a positive move to gain vital insight into how best to improve the care system and better support children in care in Wales.
A new open access article, ‘Data Resource Profile: Children Looked After administrative records in Wales,” published in the International Journal of Population Data Science (IJPDS), provides an overview of these data, including their content, structure, and characteristics. It describes the years covered in the datasets, the number of individual children represented, and how these datasets can be linked to others in the SAIL Databank.
Lead author Gemma Allnatt, a Research Assistant and Data Scientist at Swansea University Medical School, commented on the importance of this new data resource. “Use of these datasets will enhance evidence in children’s social care research, hopefully contributing to better outcomes for care experienced children and young people.”
The ‘Children Looked After’ dataset and it subsets are available to authorised researchers within the secure research platform at the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank, based at Swansea University. These datasets include information relating to all children who are looked after by local authorities in Wales. Other related data held in the databank provides information about adoptions, leaving care and educational qualifications.
Gemma Allnatt, Research Assistant and Data Scientist, Swansea University
Allnatt, G., Lee, A., Scourfield, J. ., Elliott, M., Broadhurst, K. . and Griffiths, L. . (2022) “Data resource profile: children looked after administrative records in Wales”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 7(1). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v7i1.1752.