Secure Children’s Homes provide specialist care in a secure environment for vulnerable children and young people aged between 10 and 17. They offer care for young people who have either been remanded or sentenced by the courts or detained for their own welfare or to ensure the safety of others. Local authorities are responsible for making sure places are available for their looked-after children and we are working with them to ensure the children’s homes system is joined up at a national level.
We recognise that there are only a small number of Secure Children’s Homes and that is why we are expanding provision available in England through our £40 million capital programme. We established and continue to fund the Secure Welfare Coordination Unit to help plan and coordinate placements based on individual needs. In addition, we provided funding to local and combined authorities to commission feasibility studies into opening new secure provision to increase available capacity.
More broadly, we are working across government to ensure we are aligned on key issues relevant to the broader children’s secure estate, including youth custody and mental health provision. We are also considering the needs and characteristics of young people across the estate and how provision can better meet the needs of those young people entering the system.
We are also supporting NHS England’s Framework for Integrated Care (SECURE STAIRS), which is being delivered in partnership across government to improve the overall mental health support of children in the secure estate.