Councils unsure on secure home quality

Councils are not using local authority secure children’s homes because they “lack confidence” in the quality of their services, according to a draft government survey leaked to Community Care.

The survey by the Department for Education and Skills revealed that councils had “low expectations” of most Lasch providers.

While high costs have been cited as a reason for a decline in referrals on welfare grounds to Laschs, the survey found that finance was “not a constraint”.

Instead, councils viewed services such as highly specialised foster care as a “more effective response” for young people at risk. The survey also found that outcomes from Laschs were “very variable”. Although more than half of placements had “helped to ameliorate” young people’s risk-taking behaviour, a “significant number” of young people had become involved in the criminal justice system.

Earlier this year, the Secure Accommodation Network, which represents 24 homes in England and Wales, said homes could be forced to close if they did not get enough referrals (Lack of referrals may force closures, 6 April).

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