There are over 82,000 children and young people in the region, approximately 22% of the total population. Although the population of children and young people up to the age of 25 will remain relatively stable, the number of children aged 10-15 in the region is expected to decline by 8% by 2031. It is estimated that 6,105 children and young people live with a long-term condition or disability.

Children and young people are considered under the following three groups:

  • Up to the age of 18

  • Up to the age of 21 if they have been in care

  • Up the age of 25 if they have been in care and are still in education

The region has a lower number of looked After Children (LAC) than the national average. The Capped 9-point score (Year 11 pupils’ best 9 results from qualifications available in Wales) is 361.7, above the Wales average of 353.8.

At 14%, the number of young people not in education, employment or training in West Wales is marginally lower than the Welsh average.

  • There are over 82,000 children and young people (0-19) in the West Wales region (StatsWales)
  • All three local authorities are currently below the national average for the number of young people. Projections for 2043, show that, young people aged 0-15 will account for 16.54% of the national population, whereas only 16.22% of the population in Carmarthenshire, 14.67% of the population in Pembrokeshire, and 13.64% of the population in Ceredigion will be made up of people aged 0-15.

  • In 2020 there were an estimated 6,105 children and young people with a long-term illness/disability – 3,105 in Carmarthenshire, 1,983 in Pembrokeshire, and 1,017 in Ceredigion. Projections for 2043 show a decrease to 5,652, with 2,986 in Carmarthenshire, 1,784 in Pembrokeshire, and 882 in Ceredigion.

  • Rate of looked after children (0-17) per 10,000

  • 94 children on the Child Protection Register (CPR) (StatsWales)

Care and support needs for children and families span a wide range from universal, through early intervention, multiple needs and remedial intervention. Children and families will require different levels of care and support depending upon their presenting need and strengths. In West Wales we have developed ‘The Right Help at the Right Time’ Framework which details the care and support available in each locality. The document also provides guidance on the thresholds of need acknowledging that children’s situations and circumstances can vary across the spectrum of need and professional judgement should always be used in partnership with the family.

Children and young people will have a range of care and support needs depending on their personal circumstances. Broadly speaking, this range will encompass:

  • Universal needs - for example, information and advice, low level family support, preventative services such as health visiting, early ante-natal provision, dietetic support and advice, childcare and careers advice

  • Additional needs and early intervention - such as improvement support for families, youth engagement, supporting young people into education and training, education inclusion and welfare

  • Multiple needs requiring coordinated multi-agency support to support children and families to address complex and/or entrenched needs

  • Need for remedial intervention to support children at risk.

Diagram illustrating The Right Help at the Right Time Framework. It shows a rainbow-style semi-circle of support options, from Universal Support to Enhanced Support to Targeted Support to Assessment for Care & Support to, finally, at the right hand end, Protective Support.
Needs of Children, Young People and Families


There are several areas in which further improvement can be made. These are set out below against the core principles of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014.

Voice and control

  • Enhancing assessment and care planning processes to ensure that children, young people and their families have a voice in relation to what is important to them and the support they need.

Prevention and early intervention

  • Continue to strengthen the focus on prevention across the range of services, to build resilience of children, young people and families, reduce reliance on statutory services and facilitate de-escalation from intensive support where appropriate.


  • Reducing the number of placement moves for children looked after by local authorities (CLA) and reducing reliance on residential care

  • Improving access to mental health services at an early stage, thus preventing the need for referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Improving joint planning between CAMHS and learning disability services to ensure equitable service provision for children with neuro-developmental conditions.


  • Improving engagement opportunities with Children, Young People and their Families to ensure their voice is heard and services are designed with them in mind.

Cooperation, partnership, and integration

  • Developing consistent methodology such as Signs of Safety to underpin care and support across the region

  • Developing a consistent, outcomes-based performance framework for children and young people’s services across the region

  • Developing links between Integrated Family Support Services (IFSS) and other Council services, such as adult care and housing, as well as community-based services, to help families back to independence and enable them to function effectively within their communities

  • Reconfiguring commissioning processes for high cost, low volume care and support packages for children with complex needs to ensure best outcomes and improve financial efficiency

  • Incorporating of the NEST (Nurturing Empowering Safe Trusted) framework, bringing services together to support children and young people’s mental health at every opportunity.

Opportunities should be taken to take these areas forward in partnership across the region, thereby ensuring consistency of provision and enabling a ‘once for West Wales’ approach wherever possible.

The coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) has presented new and difficult challenges for everyone. Many households have been put under strain or have faced adversity because of the social, psychological and economic impact of lockdown.

Services have done everything they can under difficult circumstances, but it is likely children will have suffered harm during this period that will not have been identified by professionals.

Providing time and space to listen directly to children is integral to a child-centred system and promotes good safeguarding practice. Children’s Social Services have maintained face-to-face contact for children known to be at risk. However, many children will have only had virtual contact via video, telephone or online with services from their home with family members present. This is likely to have impacted on the opportunities for practitioners to identify abuse and for children to disclose harm. Although many practitioners are very experienced in safeguarding practice, others may not feel as confident in this area of practice.