Reporting year 2019

Children accommodated in secure children's homes

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Introduction

This release contains statistics on children accommodated in secure children's homes, including:

  • numbers of approved and available places
  • availability and occupancy rates
  • children accommodated by gender, age and length of stay.

Information is taken from the annual DfE SA1 data return collected from secure children's homes and relate to the position at 31 March each year.


Headline facts and figures - 2019

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Places approved and children accommodated

The number of approved places has remained stable in recent years but has decreased by 52 (17%) since 2010.

The number of children accommodated has fallen to 172, down 16% on last year. There has been a decrease of 33% (86 children) since 2010.

Approved places contracted to the MoJ have fallen by 12% (14 places) to 106. This is 85 places (45%) fewer than in 2010.

There are 15 secure children's homes in England and Wales. The number of homes has been stable in recent years but has decreased since 2010.

Secure children's homes

These are children's homes which provide a locked environment and restrict a child or young person's liberty. They provide care and accommodation to children and young people who have been detained or sentenced by the criminal courts and those who have been remanded to secure local authority accommodation. They also accommodate and care for children and young people who have been placed there on welfare grounds by local authorities and the courts.

Youth Custody Service (YCS)

From September 2017, the overall responsibility for commissioning of youth custody transferred to the MoJ from the Youth Justice Board. At the same time the YCS took over responsibility for individual placements of children and young people into youth custody and day-to-day management of youth custody.

Secure Training Centres (STCs)

These are available to place those young people who are a little older and perhaps more independent and more motivated to attend school or have risk factors which would make a placement in a YOI inappropriate. There are three purpose built STCs in England offering secure provision to sentenced or remanded young people aged 12 to 17 years.

Young Offender Institution (YOIs)

Young Offender Institutions can accommodate young people from aged 15 to 21 years. However, the YCS is only responsible for commissioning YOIs which hold young males aged from 15 to 18 years. YOIs tend to be larger than SCH and STCs with lower ratios of staff to young people. Consequently, young people who are more resilient and older may be placed in a YOI. Also, young people who predominantly externalise their risk may be placed within a YOI.

Availability and occupancy rates

Availability rates

These are based on the number of places that were in use or available for use at 31 March, excluding any approved places that are out of service, for example undergoing development work.

Occupancy rates

These are based on the number of children accommodated in relation to the number of places approved by the Secretary of State.

The availability of approved places has risen to 88%, from 86% last year. The availability rate remained consistently above 90% between 2010 and 2016 but has since fallen. However, two homes were undergoing renovations which resulted in fewer rooms being available in 2018 and there was a similar situation in 2017. In 2019, one home is being renovated so none of their rooms are available for use.

The proportion of available places occupied, the occupancy rate, has fallen to 66%. It was stable at 80% in both 2017 and 2018. This reflects the drop in the number of placements made by the Youth Custody Service (YCS). Since 2010 the occupancy rate had fluctuated between 70% (2013) and 83% (2010 and 2016).

Type of placement

Children accommodated by the YCS represented 38% of all children accommodated, down from 48% in 2018 and 51% in 2010.

Children placed by the local authority on welfare grounds represented 56% of children accommodated, up from 47% in 2018 and 37% in 2010.

Children placed by the local authority in a criminal justice context represented the remaining 5% of children accommodated, the same as in 2018.

Welfare placement

Children can be placed into the homes by their local authority under section 25 of the Children act 1989 for the protection of themselves and/or others.

Youth Custody Service

From September 2017, the overall responsibility for commissioning of youth custody transferred to the MoJ form the Youth Justice Board. At the same time the YCS took over responsibility for individual placements of children and young people into youth custody and day-to-day management of youth custody.

 

Between 2010 and 2019 both the number of places contracted to the MoJ and the number of children placed by the YCS has fallen overall. Figures published by the Ministry of Justice show that the overall population of the youth secure estate have declined in the last decade, influenced by a move by courts towards sentencing children being a last resort.

Gender and age

The proportion of children accommodated who were male has fallen to 61% (105 children), from 67%, reflecting the 23% decrease in the number of children accommodated who were male. The number of children accommodated who were female remained the same as last year.

Information on the gender split by type of placement is not collected but it is likely this decrease in the number of males relates to the decrease in children placed by the YCS.

Much of the decrease in the number of children accommodated is seen in the group aged 16, which has almost halved to 31 children, from 57 last year. In all other age groups, the numbers accommodated are similar.

Length of stay

The proportion of children accommodated for less than 3 months was the same as last year, at 46%. Last year was the first time in the period since 2010 that more than half of the children accommodated had been accommodated for 3 months or more.

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National statistics

These accredited official statistics have been independently reviewed by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR). They comply with the standards of trustworthiness, quality and value in the Code of Practice for Statistics. Accredited official statistics are called National Statistics in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007.

Accreditation signifies their compliance with the authority's Code of Practice for Statistics which broadly means these statistics are:

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Our statistical practice is regulated by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR).

OSR sets the standards of trustworthiness, quality and value in the Code of Practice for Statistics that all producers of official statistics should adhere to.

You are welcome to contact us directly with any comments about how we meet these standards. Alternatively, you can contact OSR by emailing regulation@statistics.gov.uk or via the OSR website.

Contact us

If you have a specific enquiry about Children accommodated in secure children's homes statistics and data:

Children looked after statistics team

Email: cla.stats@education.gov.uk
Contact name: Justin Ushie
Telephone: 01915358967

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