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The Government is warned of the chronic lack of secure accommodation

25 July 2018

His Honour Judge Gareth Jones, a Family Court Judge in North Wales, has recently publicised his views in relation to the availability of secure accommodation for young people, as he stated that the “situation has become a serious one.”

Judge Jones recently dealt with an application for a Secure Accommodation Order in respect of a 15 year old girl. The girl had struggled to settle at a large number of foster placements. A residential placement also had difficulty managing her. The girl repeatedly absconded from her placements and was being preyed upon by older men. One of these men was subject to a Police investigation. The girl was described as “fragile” and needed the support of a secure setting.

Judge Jones granted a Secure Accommodation Order on 28 March. However, a placement was not available at the time of the Order. Judge Jones emphasised that the unavailability of these placements means that local authorities are unable to arrange educational provisions, therapeutic provisions and visits. A placement was found on 16 April, but it was a considerable distance away from where she originated. As a consequence, this creates further problems as the distance makes it difficult for family members and social workers to visit.

Judge Jones stated that “The purpose of providing this Judgment to the public more widely is to draw attention to this particular area, where deficiencies have been more apparent and where remedial action is very urgently called for.”

Local authorities are aware of the difficulties finding young people secure accommodation. It is hoped that by Judge Jones raising awareness, the government may provide additional funding to local authorities to help resolve this very serious problem.

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