Children’s services spending

Our estimates of children’s services spending are reliable and can be compared over time and across local councils in England. They are useful to plan future budgets.

Per child, rather than totals

Per child, rather than totals

Total spending and total number of children change year on year, so it is difficult to make sense of them. Spend per child helps by saying how much support goes to each child, including staff time.

Child in need Assessed as in need of support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989
Looked after child Looked after by local councils, and usually live with foster carers, or in residential care settings such as children’s homes


Spend per child in need in 2016-17 (£, 2017 prices)


Spend per looked after child in 2016-17 (£, 2017 prices)


If you click on the bubbles, you will find estimates from 2010-11.

More estimates and technical details are available in our report