To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the wellbeing of children and young people who are being held under deprivation of liberty safeguards.
19 November 2021
All children should live somewhere that meets their needs and keep them safe. This is particularly important for looked after children who have been deprived of their liberty for their own or for the safety of others. These children and young people are often some of the most vulnerable in our society and we must do all that we can to keep them safe.
We are clear that where a looked after child is deprived of their liberty, the setting is very likely to be providing care and accommodation. Such accommodation must be registered as a children’s home as required by the Care Standards Act 2000. Children’s homes are subject to robust registration and inspection requirements by Ofsted to ensure that they meet the needs of children they accommodate, and they must follow the national standards. Ofsted can take action against children’s homes when they are not delivering the quality of care and accommodation for children that the department expects.
Any provider operating a setting that meets the definition of a children’s homes – providing care and accommodation wholly or mainly for children – without the required registration is likely to be committing a criminal offence. The government believes that all children who require care of the sort provided by a children’s home should be in a children’s home which is registered by Ofsted.
Where local authorities place children subject to a deprivation of liberty in a setting that is not registered with Ofsted, they should follow the ‘Guidance on Placements in unregistered children’s homes in England or unregistered care home services in Wales’ issued by the President of the Family Division in November 2019 with an addendum added to that guidance on 1st December 2020. This guidance is clear that an application to register the provision with Ofsted must be made within 7 working days from the date of the deprivation of liberty order. The government supports this guidance and adherence to it.