The government should be responsible for ensuring there are enough secure placements for looked-after children to address the current shortage, the Children’s Commissioner for England has said.  In July last year, Ofsted said that, at any one time, 25 children were waiting for a place at one of England’s 13 secure homes, and 20 children from England had been placed in secure units in Scotland.


The shortage has forced local authorities to seek court orders for bespoke placements for children needing secure care, causing judges to repeatedly criticise the lack of provision nationally for children with complex needs. Under section 25 of the Children Act 1989, secure placements are reserved for looked-after children who would otherwise be likely to abscond, putting themselves at significant risk, or to injure themselves or others.


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