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Children: Mental Capacity

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL2443, tabled on 10 October 2022

To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the increase of 462 per cent in applications for Deprivation of Liberty orders over the last three years, what plans they have (1) to ensure that there is appropriate secure accommodation for children affected by these orders close to where it is needed, and (2) to avoid children from England being sent to Scotland or being detained in unsuitable places such as hospital wards.

Answered on

24 October 2022

In England, the statutory responsibility for ensuring a looked-after child or young person is in the appropriate placement rests with local authorities, as they are best placed to understand the specific needs of individual children in their care. Local authorities have a duty to ensure sufficient appropriate provision for all the children they look after.

The department recognises that some local authorities sometimes find it difficult accessing the most appropriate accommodation, particularly for children with the most complex needs, and that children are sometimes placed in locations away from home, when they may be better served by a placement in their local area, if available.

The department is taking significant steps to support local authorities to fulfil their statutory duties. Between now and 2025, £259 million will be made available to develop and expand the provision of both secure and open homes, to reduce out of area placements, to provide for children with complex needs, and to promote innovative practice to maintain placement stability.

Furthermore, Ofsted has recently taken steps to make the process of registration more straightforward to support local authorities in increasing the placement options available to them. Ofsted has also issued guidance on registering a multi-building children's home, enabling a home to accommodate up to six children in up to four buildings, within one single registration.