Since summer 2017 the ACoRNS team have been analysing data obtained from Freedom of Information requests from 151 local authorities in England during January – March 2017. The aim of this project was to generate an up-to-date snapshot of the numbers of children who were recorded as having a diagnosis of autism and were being Looked-After by local authorities in England, and to assess how aware relevant local authority stakeholders were of their diagnostic status and needs at a strategic level.

The Key Findings show that approximately 3% of the population of Looked-After children in England are known to have an autism spectrum diagnosis. However, this is very likely to be an underestimation of the true numbers.

It is also clear that autism diagnostic status is not a category of need that is reported or monitored at a strategic level within most local authorities. This raises important questions about the extent to which the specific needs of those with autism being Looked-After are appropriately acknowledged and met.

This project is a good example of the community generated nature of ACoRNS research in action. The project was initiated by Alice McCullen, a parent who had concerns about the extent to which Looked-After children with autism were known to local authorities. Tracey Emery then completed a thorough analysis of the data during the summer of 2017 under our ACoRNS remit.

We hope to do more work around the needs of Looked-After children with autism and so please get in touch if you are interested in contributing in any way.