Government to act on secure beds

The government has bowed to pressure from managers of local
authority secure children’s homes (Laschs) to investigate why there
is a high rate of vacant welfare beds, putting the future of some
in doubt.

The Secure Accommodation Network, which represents the homes, and
the Association of Directors of Social Services raised their
concerns last month with the Department for Education and Skills,
which promised to look at the reasons for the problem.

Laschs cater for young offenders or children detained on welfare
grounds, sometimes as mixed groups.

Figures published last week by the Department for Education and
Skills show that the number of children, including young offenders,
in Laschs in England and Wales was 365 at 31 March 2005, 13 per
cent down on a year earlier

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