Statistical Information 3

Parental alcohol problems

Of the children who had returned home by 2004, 35% came into care mainly because of the carer’s difficulty coping; 8% because of family’s alcohol problems; 37% due to abuse; and 32% due to neglect.

Only 8% of children who returned to their birth parents by 2004 came from a family with a history of alcohol problems.  This suggests that where there are family alcohol problems, children are more likely to be adopted or to remain in foster care.  


Age of the child when first entered care

Most (70%) of the children who were adopted by 2004 were less than one year when they first entered care.  The older children were when they first entered care, the more likely they were to remain in foster care. 

Length of time that the case was open

The findings showed that the longer children stayed in care, the less likely it was that they would return to their birth parents. 

Of the children who had returned to live with their birth parents by 2004, 61% had had their case open for less than one year; 29% had had their case open between one and two years; and 10% had had their case open between 3 and 4 years.

Other useful sources of information: 

Gingerbread Northern Ireland: Supporting one parent families:

NHS Choices: information on alcohol issues:

Parents Advice Centre: Help and Support for families:

Care in Crisis: provides help with crisis pregnancy, relationships, miscarriage, bereavement, post-abortion, self-esteem and stress:

 (Return to Publications) Page: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.