Children at risk of losing protection in “secure” children’s homes, Commission for Social Care Inspection warns councils

The social services chief inspector has written to councils warning them to end the practice of placing young people in children’s homes being run as if they are secure accommodation, it has emerged.

Paul Snell’s letter to directors of children’s services comes after a Commission for Social Care report published last month found that some authorities were using single place children’s homes as an alternative to secure accommodation but without the legal safeguards.

Snell said that some of the homes stated that they offered “semi-secure” accommodation using locked doors or physical restraint to prevent children leaving without the legal authority to do so in order.

“Children placed in such settings may be vulnerable to being inappropriately restrained and to loss of their legal rights without the protections of regulations and court processes,” he said in the letter.

He went on to state that whenever a child needed to have their liberty restricted on welfare grounds due to either being a danger to themselves of others councils should use a local authority secure children’s home approved for the purpose under the Children Act 1989 or other approved secure accommodation.

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