Secure Care in Scotland: Looking Ahead

Date: 1st November 2016
Category: Care Experienced children

This new paper summarises the key messages arising from the Secure Care National Project and raises important issues for the review of Scotland's care system.

Secure care is the most intensive and restrictive form of alternative care in Scotland. When a young person is secured, they are detained in a secure care centre, designed to keep safe those children and young people who pose a very high risk to themselves or/and others at a certain point in time. Though the numbers of children and young people secured each year in Scotland are relatively small, the decision to restrict any young person's liberty is significant and has an immediate impact for that young person, and for their family, friends and wider community.

This paper sets out the key messages which emerged from the secure care national project. It summarises the evidence and recommendations arising from the project work. These were presented to the Scottish Government, and the Secure Care National Steering Group and other partners, at the 'halfway point' of the project, in June 2016. The Scottish Government subsequently committed in its work plan for 2016/7 to:

"publishing, by the end of this year, the independent report into the configuration and funding arrangements for young people in or at the edge of secure care and establish a strategic board to link secure care provision to our Getting it Right For Looked After Children (GIRFEC) Strategy and the overall GIRFEC approach"

The findings are wide ranging but it is important to acknowledge that many positive developments and achievements in secure care in Scotland were identified. These are well documented through inspection reports, internal and external evaluations and recognition by the Scottish regulatory bodies and others. The project encountered a dedicated, caring, compassionate and skilled workforce of people across the sector and the responsible agencies, trying their best to meet the complex and diverse needs of very troubled and vulnerable young people.

This project has listened to a wide range of stakeholders, including care experienced young people, exploring their experiences, views and perceptions of secure care.