The number of approved places has remained broadly stable for the last five years. In 2020 there were 252 places approved by the Secretary of State - 7 places fewer than last year.
The number of children accommodated has risen to 184, up 7% on last year. This follows a drop of 16% in the previous year - the number of children accommodated had been 204 in 2018 and fell to 172 in 2019.
There are 14 secure children's homes in England and Wales, one less that last year. However, the number of homes had been stable at 15 for the previous five years.
Approved places contracted to the MoJ are similar to last year at 107 places. 80 children were accommodated in these places by the Youth Custody Service (YCS).
Figures published by the Her Majesty's Prison Service show that the overall population of the youth secure estate has declined in the last decade, influenced by a move by courts towards sentencing children being a last resort. 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. However, in 2020 the number of places contracted to the MoJ have remained stable (at 107 places, up 1 place on 2019) but the number of children placed by the YCS have increased by 21% (representing 14 children).
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.
Other types of secure accommodation
Note that data on children placed in young offender institutions and secure training centres are not included in this release, but are published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
- Secure Training Centres (STCs) 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 Young Offender Institution (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 Institutions (YOIs) can accommodate young people from aged 15 to 21 years. However, the YCS is only responsibly 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.
Places contracted to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)
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 Youth Custody Service (YCS) took over responsibility for individual placements of children and young people into youth custody and day-to-day management of youth custody. So some places within secure children's homes are contracted out for use to the MoJ and children are placed in them by the YCS.