Children in Care and Child Abuse Cases


Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Key information

Number of children in care by sex, age group, type of care, legal basis for care, type of care, principal reason for admission to care, length of stay and family type. Number of admissions to care, and number of child abuse cases reported by type of abuse. The statistics are broken down by health board/regional authority.


HSE/health boards. The statistics on child abuse are based on all suspected child abuse cases which were referred to the health boards during one reference year.


All children in the care of the health boards and all suspected child abuse cases which were referred to the health boards.


Every 3 years

Reference period

Calendar year and 31 December

Start date

1996 (care statistics), 2000 (abuse statistics)


Typically 2 years after the end of the reference year


  • Health Board/Regional Authority
    Eastern; Midland; Mid-Western; North-Eastern; North-Western; South-Eastern; Southern; Western.
  • Age
    Less Than 1 year; 1-2; 3-5; 6-12; 13-14; 15-16; 17-18 years.
  • Care
    Foster care (General; Behavioural difficulties; With relatives); Pre-adoptive placement; Residential; At home under supervision; Other.
  • Legal basis for care
    Current care order; Voluntarily.
  • Reason for admission
    Physical abuse; Sexual abuse; Emotional abuse; Neglect; Parents unable to cope/parental illness; Parents abusing drugs/alcohol; Parents suffering psychiatric illness; Children with emotional/behavioural problems; Child abandoned/rejected; Domestic violence; Pregnancy (child); Child abusing drugs; Other; Separated children seeking asylum.
  • Length of stay
    Less Than 1 year; 1-5; 5+ years.
  • Family unit
    Married couple; Married/separated; Divorced; Cohabiting couple; Widow/widower; Lone parent; Other.
  • Abuse case status
    Confirmed abuse; Confirmed non-abuse, Unfounded; Inconclusive outcome; Assessment on-going.
  • Abuse type
    Physical abuse; Sexual abuse; Emotional abuse; Neglect.


People and Society - Social Conditions

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abandoned abuse abusing alcohol assessment behavioural care cases child children confirmed cope difficulties domestic drugs emotional foster health hsw illness neglect parental parents physical placement pre-adoptive pregnancy problems psychiatric rejected residential sexual supervision suspected violence