Latest government statistics on children accommodated in secure...
Commenting on the latest government statistics on children accommodated in secure children’s homes Charlotte Ramsden, Chair of the ADCS Health, Care and Additional Needs Policy Committee said:
“Although these statistics show that there has been a slight decrease in the number of children placed in secure children’s homes in 2017 compared to 2016, demand remains high despite local authorities generally only making a handful of placements each year. These homes provide the most vulnerable children and young people with vital help and support at times of extreme crisis or distress, and are intended to protect them from themselves or others. Placements are often needed urgently and at short notice but it can sometimes take up to several weeks to find a placement, this is of significant concern to local authorities and is not in the best interests of these very vulnerable children.
“There could be several reasons why these statistics show a slight increase in the number of placements made on welfare grounds. Custodial sentences for offences committed by young people have significantly reduced over the past decade and there is a greater emphasis on restorative practices and community resolutions. This has been positive overall and the Youth Justice Board has revised its contract which means that there are less custodial placements available. A small number of these young people do end up needing a secure children’s home placement on welfare grounds. Other young people have serious mental health needs but are placed in secure welfare placements due to not meeting the criteria for Tier 4 CAMHS provision. This compounds the pressures on welfare secure provision due to the complex mix of young people and we are working to link the current review of Tier 4 provision with the review of welfare secure placements. Many authorities are also developing new creative solutions to supporting complex young people outside of secure settings. We urgently need to increase capacity in the welfare secure system and ADCS will be raising this issue with the Residential Care Leadership Board once it is established.”