Secure care
Moving on from secure care

As with their move into secure care, it is important that children are supported by someone they know on the day they leave secure care and can access all the care and support they require to build the future they want from everyone with a role or responsibility for this, for as long as the child needs this (Scottish Government, 2020). To ensure that a child’s needs are met these supports should be tailored to the child’s hopes, strengths, goals, and circumstances, as well as needs, vulnerabilities and risks (Scottish Government, 2020). This is likely to require the involvement of a range of agencies including social work, health, education/employment and training, future care providers, housing and third sector organisations. This includes supporting children to maintain contact and relationships with the staff who were involved in their care, who they knew well and trusted while in secure care (Scottish Government, 2020). The difference this support can make is highlighted by a young person:

“Look at what we’ve all achieved despite everything we’ve been through” (Secure Care Pathway and Standards Scotland)

It is important that if a child is moving on from secure care and subject to any licence conditions, that these are fully explained in an understandable way to them by the secure care centre staff and their social worker.

The Independent Care Review (2020) recommended that any child who is ‘looked after’ and is in secure care and turns 18, must retain social work support and be able to access aftercare and continuing care provisions upon leaving secure care. Provisions for aftercare for care leavers under Part 10 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and Children (Scotland) Act 1995 mean any child who is “looked after” by a local authority (regardless of placement type) on or after their 16th birthday will be entitled to ‘advice, guidance and assistance’ up to age 18 and eligible to request such support between the ages of 19 and 25. There is a duty on local authorities to provide aftercare until the child’s 19th birthday, and a power to provide up to their 26th birthday. If the young person requests aftercare assistance during this time, then an eligible needs assessment must be undertaken by the local authority. Once eligible needs are identified then there is a duty on the local authority to ensure these are met.

At present continuing care under Part 11 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 provisions do not apply to care leavers who were accommodated in secure care immediately before ceasing to be looked after. While this is because the local authority cannot provide exactly the same accommodation (i.e. secure accommodation), the local authority has a duty to provide as near as possible an “alternative equivalent” to their last care placement and appropriate to their needs. Given the level and intensity of care and support provided by secure care, the alternative equivalent should offer a similar high level of care (so for example an adult hostel, temporary accommodation, or bed and breakfast accommodation would be unable to provide this).

Under the National Outcomes and Standards for Social Work Services in the Criminal Justice System children who are moving on and subject to licence conditions should be seen by their social worker on the day they leave secure care.

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