To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many secure children's homes have (a) opened and (b) closed in each year since 2003; what the reason for opening or closing was in each case; how many homes remain open; and what plans his Department has to open or close any in the future.
In 2003 there were 28 secure children's homes in England. Since then no new homes have opened, while 12 homes have closed, of the 16 homes now in operation, 15 of these are provided by local authorities and the other by a charitable organisation.
The following table shows the number of homes that closed in each year since 2003.
|Closure of secure children's homes 2003-12|
|Number of closures|
The Department does not keep a record of the reasons why individual homes have closed. But our understanding is that in most cases homes closed as the local authorities managing them reached a view that changes in professional practice and in how services were commissioned and funded meant that the provision of these very specialised high cost services ceased to be financially viable.
The approval of the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend Michael Gove, must be secured before any children's homes can provide secure accommodation but the Department is not directly responsible for delivering these services. Any decision to establish a new secure children's home would be for local authorities or other potential providers of these services based on their assessment of the future market for these services.