Fears for future of children’s homes

One in seven local authority secure children’s homes (Lasch) could
close, the head of the Secure Accommodation Network has warned.

Roy Walker said four of the 28 secure children’s homes had not been
offered contracts with the Youth Justice Board as part of its local
authority secure children’s homes retendering exercise. One home,
in Derbyshire, has already closed. The board has yet to make a
formal announcement on the retendering.

Only four homes had been awarded five-year contracts with the
board, said Walker. “I am concerned that over the next 12 to 18
months more homes may become financially unviable and close,” he

About 10 homes have been offered two-year contracts while,
according to Walker, some have refused to work with the board and
others are considering their options.

Although the move could free up beds for children who need a place
on welfare grounds, Walker warned that social workers had “got out
of the habit” of using Laschs as the board had previously bought so
many of the places.

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