Skip to main content
Female worker looking at the camera with a male and two other female workers sitting with their back to the camera in the background

15 Jun 2022

Workforce data Social service workforce

New report shows increase in residential child care workforce

Our new report published today shows the residential child care workforce has increased by 16% since 2010 while the number of children and young people in some form of residential care has decreased by 3% during that time. Residential child care includes care homes for children and young people, residential special schools and secure accommodation.

Our data report Residential Child Care Report: the workforce, services, providers and looked after children 2010-2020 looks at data on the workforce and the number of Looked After Children.

Over the 10 years not only has the size of the workforce increased but there has also been a rise in the number of residential child care providers and services. This may reflect the move towards smaller services which offer more of a home environment.

SSSC Acting Chief Executive Maree Allison said:

‘There have been marked changes in the residential child care sector over the 10 years covered by the report. Throughout this time of change the workforce has continued to deliver high quality care and support to children and young people, not least of all during the challenging two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Residential child care workers have been required to register with the SSSC since 2009. This report examining the workforce in more detail will help improve the understanding of the sector and its workforce as we continue to work with others on delivering the recommendations of The Promise.

‘The report is part of our corporate parenting commitment to put care experienced children, young people and adults at the heart of what we do.’

Key findings

  • The overall residential child care workforce has increased by 16% since 2010 to 8,650 members of staff.
  • The workforce has increased across all three types of employers (public, private and voluntary) with the greatest growth seen among private providers with a 28% increase.
  • The number of children and young people in some form of residential care (care homes for children and young people, residential special schools and secure accommodation) has decreased by 3% since 2010.
  • The number of residential child care services has increased by 37% since 2010.
  • The number of care homes for children and young people has increased by 46%.
  • The number of residential special schools and secure accommodation services fell by 5% and 29% respectively.
  • The number of providers of residential child care services has increased by 15%.
  • The number of private sector residential care homes has increased from 61 in 2010 to 142 in 2020, a 133% increase.
  • The numbers of services based in local authorities appears to be distributed unevenly.

Next steps

The report identifies several actions we will undertake to further develop understanding of the sector, including more detailed analyses of residential child care workforce data and exploring standardising definitions and collaborating on reports with the Scottish Government and the Care Inspectorate.

Read the full report on our data website Residential Child Care Report: the workforce, services, providers and looked after children 2010-2020.

Contact information

Lorraine Wakefield
Communications Manager
Scottish Social Services Council
lorraine.wakefield@sssc.uk.com