Four secure children’s homes have lost their contracts with the Youth Justice Board to provide beds for vulnerable young offenders, the YJB announced yesterday.
Following a recommissioning exercise conducted by the YJB and Department for Children, Schools and Families, the number of beds funded in secure homes will fall by 13% from 219 currently to 191 under the new contracts, which start in July.
Kyloe House Secure Children’s Home in Northumberland, Sutton Place Safe Centre, Hull, Orchard Lodge Secure Unit in London and the Atkinson Unit, Exeter, have lost contracts.
Limited contract extensions
The YJB said all four would be offered transitional support, involving limited extensions to their contracts, to help them maintain the provision of welfare beds for looked-after children, commissioned by councils.
Nine homes have received new contracts and will have a similar number of beds funded as they do presently. They are:-
- Aldine House Secure Children’s Centre, Sheffield
- Aycliffe Secure Services, County Durham
- Barton Moss Secure Care Centre, Manchester
- Clayfields House Secure Unit, Nottingham
- East Moor Secure Children’s Home, West Yorkshire
- Lincolnshire Secure Unit, Lincolnshire
- Red Bank Community Home, Merseyside
- Swanwick Lodge, Southampton
- Vinney Green Secure Unit, South Gloucestershire
The YJB said that SCHs, which cater for 12- to 14-year-olds sentenced to custody, girls under 17 and boys aged 15 or 16 with particular needs, had a “distinct and long-term role in providing secure accommodation” for these groups.
It said its decisions had been based on an analysis of the population of SCHs and secure training centres over the past three years, taking into account the geographical spread of homes across England. The only SCH in Wales – Hillside – was not included in the recommissioning exercise and the renewal of its contract will be handled separately.
Concerns over future of homes
The news comes amid ongoing concerns over the future of SCHs, due to a fall in the number of welfare beds commissioned by councils. Eleven homes have closed in recent years, leaving 19 open in England and Wales.
A review commissioned by the government, which reported last November, urged the DCSF to set out a strategy for the future of the sector to prevent further closures.