Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services has been asked to support the Department for Education (DfE) and the Association for Directors of Children’s Service (ADCS) in assessing national demand for, and the availability of, beds in secure accommodation, for children in need of care and protection.
As part of this work, the County Council will be co-ordinating the identification of available secure beds for children on behalf of all Children’s Services across England.
Many authorities often experience difficulty in finding out information about suitable vacancies in secure accommodation. Through co-ordinating the identification of these placements for the whole of the country, a clearer picture can be created of the level of demand, where there is and is not capacity, and develop a greater understanding of the needs of young people requiring secure accommodation.
To handle all welfare secure placement requests, the County Council will host an interim unit, funded by the DfE. The interim unit will mean that the placement teams for each social care authority will only need to make one call to find a vacancy, instead of having to contact every secure children’s home, individually.
Additionally, over time and based on the knowledge gained, the unit will be able to provide authorities with guidance on the placements that offer the most suitable match for the child needing secure accommodation.
The pilot will begin in May 2016 and run for 18 months.