Liberty at risk in one-person homes

Councils are using one-person children’s homes as an alternative to secure accommodation but without the latter’s legal safeguards on children’s rights.

The finding emerged in a Commission for Social Care Inspection report launched today by its chair Denise Platt, which slams the practice.

It says secure accommodation is enshrined in law with the rights of the young person staying there made clear. But use of one-person homes “runs the danger” of children being denied their liberty in settings that are neither legally permitted nor set up to do this.

It adds that staff practices in secure accommodation are defined by guidance but these would not be followed by staff in one-person homes.

A young person in an open ­children’s home has a right to leave it if they wish. But the report points out that in a one-person home, one or two staff members have con­tinuous oversight of a young person. This makes it easier for their presence to prevent a young person leaving and to control key aspects of their welfare, including contact with their family and access to complaints procedures.

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