Secure Accommodation (Unlawful Detention of At-risk Children)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 8th June 2021.

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Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

Secure care is one of the most intensive and restrictive forms of alternative care in Scotland. Depriving a child of their liberty in secure units, even when that is essential for their safety and welfare, has a profound effect on them and such decisions should always be legally justifiable, rights proofed and transparent.

Following the examination of 119 cases of children who were placed in secure accommodation across 27 local authorities during 2018 and 2019, the commissioner’s report highlights significant procedural and notification issues for local authorities and chief social work officers.

The report also highlights good practice in some areas and points to encouraging remedial activities since the fieldwork took place. I am concerned, however, that every child’s statutory rights may not have been protected during that time, so I wrote to chief social work officers yesterday both to offer support and to seek reassurance that they have, if necessary, amended procedures to comply fully with all regulations. I am also looking to meet the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities at the earliest opportunity to discuss the matter further.