NYAS have released the first report in our secure children’s home research project. This initial report provides a snapshot of the context around secure children’s home across England and Wales, and the challenges young people face when they are living in this accommodation.

Moving into a secure children’s home can be a challenging time for many children and young people, especially when they’re struggling with their mental wellbeing too. In this first briefing, NYAS reveal that children placed in secure homes live on average 141 miles away from their previous home. 

What is a Secure Children’s Home?

Secure children’s homes provide care and accommodation for vulnerable young people. In this accommodation, their liberty and freedoms are often restricted due to welfare concerns.

Section 25 welfare orders are made under the Children Act 1989 ,and allow local authorities to place young people in secure children’s homes if:

  • They have a history of running away and are likely to run away from other accommodation or suffer significant harm
  • They are likely to injure themselves or other people if living in any other accommodation.

What has NYAS’ Research on Secure Children’s Home Found?

Across England and Wales, 1,487 young people were placed in secure children’s homes between 2018-2020. In 2020, 43.59% of young people placed had a suspected mental health condition. Despite this, vulnerable young people continue to be placed in homes that are, on average, as far apart as London and Cardiff.

These findings are from the latest research by NYAS, based on data shared by the Secure Welfare Coordination Unit (SWCU). This is NYAS’ first briefing note on secure children’s homes for welfare in England and Wales. Our report aims to provide a snapshot of secure children’s homes for welfare, launching a research series which will continue over the next year. The research within this series will focus on young people who are subject to section 25 orders made under the Children Act 1989.

Ben Twomey, NYAS Director of Policy and Research, said “Children living in secure homes are hidden from view. Our research series aims to uncover the realities of secure homes for welfare, exploring the protection provided to children as well as the system failures that lead to children being deprived of their liberty.”

Where Can I Read the Full Report?

Our first instalment of this research series is available to read in both English and Welsh. As noted above, this initial report provides a snapshot of our findings so far.

Read the Initial Report Now

Future documents in our research series will provide detailed analysis of our findings, as well as recommendations for improvement.