The Children’s Commissioner for England has today published a report on the hundreds of vulnerable children in England who are locked up in institutions across the country.
The report gathers data about children living in secure children’s homes, youth justice settings, mental health wards and other residential placements, either for their own safety or the safety of others. It seeks to identify whether these institutions are meeting these children’s complex needs and whether different decisions could have been taken to prevent them from being locked away.
Worryingly, it finds that more than 200 children who are locked away are ‘invisible’ in the system due to the way data is collected.
In response to the report, Linda Briheim-Crookall, Head of Policy and Practice Development said:
“Given how little we know about these young people, to ensure they are not forgotten, it is essential that there are systems in place to give these children and young people to a voice in the care they receive. As the largest provider of advocacy in secure children’s homes, we know that advocacy is an essential service to allow these children to challenge any inappropriate decisions made about their lives and receive support that addresses their wishes and feelings. Ready access to advocacy in secure settings helps them understand their rights and entitlements and gives them a professional who can work alongside them to ensure they are heard by those that work with them.”
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