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Data resource: Children receiving care and support and children in need, administrative records in Wales

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • A. Lee
  • M. Elliott
  • J. Scourfield
  • S. Bedston
  • K. Broadhust
  • D.V. Ford
  • L.J. Griffiths
Article number8
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>9/05/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Population Data Science
Issue number1
Number of pages19
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Introduction: In Wales, the Children in Need (CIN) dataset includes information relating to needs of children and social care support. Before the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 came into force in April 2016, this data collection was named the Children in Need census, changing to Children Receiving Care and Support (CRCS) after this date to reflect better the children eligible for inclusion. This paper describes these datasets, their potential for research and their limitations. We describe data that researchers can access via the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank and exploratory linkages made to health records.

Methods: CIN and CRCS data were transferred to the SAIL Databank using a standardised approach to provide de-identified data with Anonymised Linking Fields (ALF) for successfully matched records. The linkage method relies on the use of Unique Pupil Numbers (UPN). As such, no records are currently available for children without a UPN, which includes most under age three. ALFs enabled linkage to individual-level health data within SAIL. Health service use was compared to non-CIN/CRCS populations.

Results: CRCS data held within the SAIL Databank comprises 25,972 records, 81% of the total number of records reported by the Welsh Government. The CIN data contains 108,449 records, 79% of the Welsh Government's records for this data collection. Health service use of children in need, and children receiving care and support, was roughly equal to that of the non-CIN/CRCS population, except GP visits, where children in need had fewer consultations, and children receiving care and support had more consultations than the comparison population.

Conclusion: Researchers can access Welsh CIN and CRCS datasets through the SAIL Databank, enabling research opportunities. Work is ongoing to improve records and to understand better the health and health service use among children captured by CIN and CRCS censuses.