Secure accommodation orders

     

    Feature I | Feature II | Cases | FYI


    Feature I

    Secure accommodation orders

    Section 25 of the Children Act 1989 (ChA 1989) (in England) and section 119 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (SSW(W)A 2014) (in Wales) restrict the ability of local authorities to place and keep children in secure accommodation. Secure accommodation orders are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The key regulations are the Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505 (in England) and the Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1988 (in Wales).

    References:
    ChA 1989, s 25
    Re M (a minor) (secure accommodation order) [1995] 1 FLR 418
    Re K (a child) (secure accommodation order: right to liberty) [2001] 1 FLR 526
    In Barking and Dagenham London Borough v SS [2014] EWHC 4436 (Fam), [2015] All ER (D) 07 (Feb), Hayden J said in relation to secure accommodation orders (at para [15]):

    'The use of s 25 will very rarely be appropriate and it must always remain a measure of last resort. By this I mean not merely that the conventional options for a child in care must have been exhausted but so too must the "unconventional", i.e. the creative alternative packages of support that resourceful social workers can devise when given time, space and, of course, finances to do so. Nor should the fact that a particular type of placement may not have worked well for the child in the past mean that it should not be tried again. Locking a child up…is corrosive of a young persons spirit. It sends a subliminal and unintended message that the child has done wrong which all too often will compound his problems rather than form part of a solution.'

    Children may also be detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, and in long-term detention for grave crimes—that is outside the scope of this article.

    There has been judicial concern as to the lack of suitable secure accommodation places, in particular placements that meet mental health needs. See also News Analysis: Protecting children from harm in a mental health context (Re X (A Child) (No 2)).

    References:
    Re X (A Child) (No 2) [2017] EWHC 1585 (Fam), [2017] All ER (D) 49 (Jul)
    Re X (A Child) (No 3) [2017] EWHC 2036 (Fam), [2017] All ER (D) 47 (Aug)
    London Borough of Southwark v F [2017] EWHC 2189 (Fam)

    Secure accommodation

    Secure accommodation is ‘accommodation provided for the purpose of restricting liberty’, which can include short-term placement in a locked room for seclusion or ‘time-out’ purposes. While most secure establishments are designed for that purpose, that is not a pre-condition, and other cases will be fact-specific.

    References:
    ChA 1989, s 25(1)
    SSW(W)A 2014, s 119
    Re C (a minor) (medical treatment: court’s jurisdiction) [1997] 2 FLR 180

    Children who can be placed

    In most cases, the child must be ‘looked after’ by the local authority—that is, either a child in their care (care order or interim care order), or a child provided with accommodation under their social services functions, but not (in England) if accommodated under ChA 1989, ss 17, 23B or 24B, and not (in Wales) if accommodated under SSW(W)A 2014, ss 15, 109, 114 or 115 or Pt 4. The secure accommodation provisions do not apply in relation to a child who is being accommodated by a local authority for 24 hours or less.

    References:
    ChA 1989, ss 17, 22(2), 23B, 24B
    The statutory protection has been extended to children accommodated by a variety of NHS bodies, and in care homes, independent hospitals and those accommodated in the exercise of educational functions.

    References:
    Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, reg 7
    Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1988, reg 16

    If the child is accommodated but not in care, and the local authority is uncertain of parental support, it may need to issue care proceedings, since the parent may otherwise discharge the child from accommodation, thereby removing the power to place or keep the child in secure accommodation.

    Although a child who is remanded to youth detention accommodation is treated as ‘looked after’ by the local authority, ChA 1989, s 25 does not apply to them in England. In Wales, see Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1988, reg 7.

    References:
    LASPOA 2012, s 104(1)
    Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, reg 5A

    A child under the age of 13 may not be placed in secure accommodation without the prior approval of the Secretary of State (in England) or the Welsh Ministers (in Wales), who can impose terms and conditions.

    References:
    Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, regs 34
    Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1988, reg 13

    The issue of the consent of a child to a secure accommodation order was addressed in Re W (A Child) [2016] EWCA Civ 804and the position summarised by Macur LJ (at para [20]) as:

    ‘A due regard to the wishes and feelings of a competent child so far as consistent with his or her welfare may dissuade a local authority from applying for a secure accommodation order. As a child approaches its majority, the factors to be weighed in the balance will undoubtedly acknowledge its looming legal independence. That said, we are satisfied that the subject child's consent is not a pre-requisite of the making of a secure accommodation order.’

    In England a young person aged 16–20 who is accommodated in a community home under ChA 1989, s 20(5), may not have their liberty restricted by being placed or kept in secure accommodation, as they do not have the protection of ChA 1989, s 25, although an order made before their 16th birthday will continue to have effect. This restriction does not apply if the child is accommodated under s 20(3).

    References:
    ChA 1989, ss 20(3), (5), 22(1)–(2), 25
    Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, reg 5

    Secure accommodation without a court order

    A child may be kept in secure accommodation without a court order for a maximum of 72 hours, whether or not consecutive, in any period of 28 days. But before doing so, the local authority must be satisfied that the statutory criteria are met and must consider the child's welfare although that need not be their paramount consideration. ChA 1989, s 22(6) (in England) and SSW(W)A 2014, s 78(4) (in Wales) also enable the local authority to act in order to protect the public from serious injury even if inconsistent with promoting and safeguarding the child’s welfare. It should consult the child, parents and others, as far as reasonably practicable. If the child is kept in secure accommodation in a children’s home, the local authority must tell the parents and others of any intention to seek a court order for that purpose.

    References:
    Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, regs 10, 14
    Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1988, regs 2, 3 and 5
    Re M (a minor) (secure accommodation order) [1995] 1 FLR 418

    Secure accommodation—applying to the court

    Normally, the child will already be in secure accommodation at the time an application is made to the court, but this is not essential. The local authority accommodating the child makes the application, under the provisions of ChA 1989, s 25 (in England) or SSW(W)A 2014, s 119 (in Wales), after a decision by a senior manager. The respondents are:

    References:
    ChA 1989, s 25
    FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 12.3
    Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, reg 8
    Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1988, reg 4

    • each person believed to have parental responsibility
    • if the child is in care (care order or interim care order), each person believed to have parental responsibility immediately before the care order/interim care order
    • the child
    • for applications to extend, vary or discharge a secure accommodation order, the parties to the proceedings regarding that order

    Applications for secure accommodation orders are specified proceedings, ie in accordance with ChA 1989, s 41(1) the court shall appoint a children's guardian for the child concerned unless satisfied that it is not necessary to do so in order to safeguard the child's interests. The application is made to the Family Court in Forms C1 (as they are ChA 1989, Pt III (in England) or SSW(W)A 2014, rather than ChA 1989, Pt IV, proceedings) and C20. The court fee payable is £215. At least one day’s notice must be given, unless the court directs to the contrary.

    References:
    ChA 1989, s 25, 41
    SSW(W)A 2014, s 119
    FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 5.1, 5.3, 12.3, 12.27
    FPR 2010, PD 5A
    Family Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2014, SI 2014/877
    C1—Application for an order (Children Act 1989)
    PDF Format
    C20—Supplement for an application for an order to hold a child in secure accommodation (Children Act 1989, s 25)
    PDF Format
    Notice must be given to certain non-parties by serving Form C6A (Notice to non-parties) on:

    References:
    FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 12.8
    FPR 2010, PD 12C, paras 1.4, 3.1
    C6A—Notice to non-parties
    PDF Format

    • the local authority providing accommodation for the child
    • the persons caring for the child at the time when the proceedings are commenced
    • in the case of a child who is alleged to be staying in a certified refuge, the person who is providing the refuge

      References:
      ChA 1989, s 51(1)–(2)

    The giving of notice to a non-party will afford the opportunity for those notified to see to be joined as a party to the proceedings. The court has a discretion to decide when proceedings should be served on a non-party and may dispense with service. The local authority must also notify any other person who has parental responsibility for the child, any independent visitor who has been appointed, and any other person who the local authority thinks should be informed.

    References:
    FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 12.3(3)–(4), 16.2
    Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, reg 14
    Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1988, reg 5
    Re M (a child) (secure accommodation) [2001] EWCA Civ 458, [2001] 2 FLR 169

    The child must be afforded the following rights set out in ECHR, art 6.3:

    • to be told promptly and in detail, in a language they understand, the nature and cause of the application
    • to have adequate time and facilities to prepare their defence
    • to defend themselves in person or with free legal assistance
    • to call witnesses and cross-examine (or have cross-examined) the witnesses against them
    • if necessary, to have free use of an interpreter

    Statutory criteria

    The court must decide whether the statutory criteria ‘are satisfied’. The criteria are either that:

    References:
    ChA 1989, s 25(1)(a)–(b)
    SSW(W)A 2014, s 119

    • the child has a history of absconding and is likely to abscond from any other description of accommodation and, if the child does abscond, they are likely to suffer significant harm, or
    • if the child is kept in any other description of accommodation, they are likely to injure themselves or other persons

    These criteria therefore encompasses the protection of the child or public protection.
    The paramountcy of the ChA 1989, s 1 welfare principles do not apply to a secure accommodation order application under ChA 1989, s 25. However, as it is a ChA 1989, Pt III application, under which the local authority seeks to promote and safeguard the child’s welfare, determining such welfare will be illuminated by reference to the ChA 1989, s 1(3) criteria, and in such cases ‘welfare’ will always weigh very heavily.

    References:
    ChA 1989, ss 1, 25
    Re M (a minor) (secure accommodation order) [1995] 1 FLR 418
    Barking and Dagenham London Borough v SS [2014] EWHC 4436 (Fam), [2015] All ER (D) 07 (Feb)
    It is to be noted that SSW(W)A 2014, s 119, is in SSW(W)A 2014, Pt 6 (looked after and accommodated children), not in SSW(W)A 2014, Pts 2 or 3 (assessing and meeting the needs of individuals).
    The court will have regard to the child’s welfare, but if any of the criteria is made out, the court must make the secure accommodation order. Conversely, it cannot make one even if the child’s welfare requires it, if the criteria are not satisfied. The court’s role is to assess such welfare issues, on the basis that the local authority is the decision-maker, and thus whether a secure accommodation order is within the permissible range of options open to a local authority that is charged with promoting and safeguarding the child’s welfare: it is a judicial review approach, not a ‘second stage’ welfare approach such as in care proceedings. However, the distinction between the local authority’s interpretation of welfare and the court’s own evaluation of it will probably be illusory.

    References:
    Re K (a child) (secure accommodation: right to liberty) [2001] 1 FLR 526
    Re G (a child) (secure accommodation order) [2001] 1 FLR 884
    Barking and Dagenham London Borough v SS [2014] EWHC 4436 (Fam), [2015] All ER (D) 07 (Feb)

    If the criteria later cease to exist, the local authority must not keep the child in secure accommodation. Therefore the local authority must keep the child’s case under close review (not just at statutory reviews), and the court may later scrutinise its actions very carefully. If the criteria cease to exist, it is very doubtful that the local authority will have any power to keep the child in secure accommodation while they find an alternative placement.

    References:
    LM v Essex County Council [1999] 1 FLR 988
    Re S (a child) (secure accommodation order: right to liberty) [2004] EWHC 491 (Fam), [2004] All ER (D) 76 (Jun)

    ‘Likely to abscond’ means a real possibility, one that cannot sensibly be ignored having regard to the nature and gravity of the feared event. The same applies to ‘likely to suffer significant harm’.

    References:
    Re S (a child) (secure accommodation order: right to liberty) [2004] EWHC 491 (Fam), [2004] All ER (D) 76 (Jun)

    Procedure including the child’s attendance

    On receiving an application, the court can fix a directions hearing, or proceed straight to a hearing (in an urgent case).

    References:
    ChA 1989, s 25
    SSW(W)A 2014, s 119
    FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 12.1212.14

    Historical case law that largely discouraged the attendance of the child at secure accommodation order hearings has been reviewed by the High Court, and the following approach should now be adopted:

    References:
    Re M (a child) (secure accommodation order) [2008] EWHC 1085 (Fam), [2008] All ER (D) 389 (Jun)
    A City Council v T [2011] EWHC 1082 (Fam), [2011] All ER (D) 217 (May)

    • FPR 2010 do not contain any presumption for or against attendance
    • the routine exclusion of children from such hearings might be problematic in the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
    • greater weight is now given to the potential benefits of the greater involvement of children, and it can no longer be presumed that attendance at court is harmful
    • the following factors would normally be relevant:
      • the child’s age and level of understanding
      • the nature and strength of the child’s wishes
      • the child's emotional and psychological condition
      • the influence of others
      • the matters to be discussed and the evidence to be given (which may be no more than a rehearsal of what the child already knows)
      • the child’s behaviour (though problems at court could not be conclusive reasons for refusing)
      • practical and logistical considerations, and
      • the integrity of the proceedings
    • the reasons for refusing a request must be very cogent, given the issues at stake

    The court can make an interim order, but only if it decides to adjourn the application—a freestanding interim order cannot be made. Unlike interim care orders, there are no separate interim statutory criteria from the substantive criteria. The case should not be adjourned as a device to maintain the involvement of the children’s guardian. The guardian’s role is to help the court with the secure accommodation order criteria, not a wider welfare role or oversight of the local authority. The court should not normally adjourn if there is procedural fairness and the court has all the requisite information, and any adjournment must be for the shortest possible period.

    References:
    Birmingham City Council v M [2008] EWHC 1085 (Fam)

    The period of any interim order must be included in the calculation of the maximum period for a final secure accommodation order.

    References:
    Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, regs 1112
    Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1988, reg 6
    C v Humberside County Council [1994] 2 FLR 759

    Duration of order

    The initial order cannot be for longer than three months from the date of the first authorisation, including the period of any interim order. It should only be made for so long as is necessary and unavoidable, for the minimum period compatible with the criteria for, and the objectives of, the order. If a longer period proves necessary, the local authority may reapply. This can be for a maximum of six months on each occasion.

    References:
    Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, regs 1112
    Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1988, reg 6

    Effect of a secure accommodation order

    A secure accommodation order authorises, but does not require, the child to be kept in secure accommodation. The child must be removed from such accommodation if the criteria cease to be satisfied—see: Secure accommodation—applying to the court.

    References:
    W v North Yorkshire County Council [1993] 1 FLR 692

    Reviews

    The court does not have a reviewing function—that is the placing local authority’s duty. The child has no right to apply for a review or discharge of the order—once made the court has discharged its duty.

    References:
    Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, regs 1517
    A v Liverpool City Council [1981] 2 All ER 385
    LM v Essex County Council [1999] 1 FLR 988

    The local authority must appoint a secure accommodation review panel of at least three persons, one of whom must be independent. The panel must review the child’s case within one month and then at least once every three months. Its opinion is not binding. Review of the placement is the responsibility of the local authority looking after the child and not the local authority managing the secure accommodation, if different. The Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, reg 17 specifies the records that must be kept in relation to the child and that the Secretary of State may require copies of those records at any time.

    References:
    Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, regs 1517
    Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1988, reg 11

    These duties are in addition to the wider duty to review the cases of all children who are accommodated, chaired by an independent reviewing officer.

    Appeals

    A challenge as to the continuing legality of a secure accommodation order may be made by way of judicial review. Permission to appeal against the making of a secure accommodation order is not required. The appeal should be listed as a matter of urgency.

    References:
    FPR 2010, SI 2010/2955, 30.3(2)(b)
    W v North Yorkshire Council [1993] 1 FLR 692

    Placement outside the jurisdiction

    Schedule 1 to the Children and Social Work Act 2017 made amendments to ChA 1989, s 25 with effect from 27 April 2017, extending the provisions of that section (as amended) to include Scotland. Amendments were also made, inter alia, to the Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505.

    References:
    Children and Social Work Act 2017, s 10, Sch 1

    Previously, in Re X (A Child); Re Y (A Child), Munby P had considered whether a judge in England could make a secure accommodation order under ChA 1989, s 25 if the child was to be placed in a unit in Scotland, and concluded that such an order could not be made for two reasons:

    References:
    Re X (A Child); Re Y (A Child) [2016] EWHC 2271 (Fam), [2016] All ER (D) 48 (Sep)

    • secure accommodation in Scotland was not approved by the Secretary of State in accordance with the statutory regulations

      References:
      Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991, SI 1991/1505, reg 3
      Children (Secure Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1988, reg 8

    Munby P noted (at para [2]) that 'These particular issues arise because of the shortage of places in secure accommodation units in England, so that local authorities and courts in England, particularly in the north of England, whether on the Northern Circuit or the North-Eastern Circuit, look to making use of available places in secure accommodation units in Scotland', adding (at para [3]): 'These issues need to be viewed in the wider context of other cross-border issues arising as between England and Scotland in family cases...there are serious lacunae in the law which, it might be thought, need urgent attention.' The court concluded that in the circumstances 'the only way forward was for an application to be made by the local authorities to the Scottish Court of Session seeking to invoke the nobile officium' (see paras [68]–[70]). ChA 1989, s 25 was subsequently amended to include Scotland. See also News Analysis: Secure accommodation orders—a question of jurisdiction.

    References:
    Re X (A Child); Re Y (A Child) [2016] EWHC 2271 (Fam), [2016] All ER (D) 48 (Sep)

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    Feature II

    ‘No easy solution’ for secure accommodation shortage (Haringey Borough Council v M)

    In Haringey v M, another judge has spoken out about the serious shortage of secure accommodation for children with serious behavioural issues. Alexander Laing, of Coram Chambers, looks at the causes of the problem and considers whether there is any solution.

    Original news

    Haringey Borough Council v M [2017] Lexis Citation 289, [2017] All ER (D) 61 (Sep)

    The Family Court granted the local authority’s application for permission to place the respondent in secure accommodation pursuant to section 25 of the Children Act 1989 (CA 1989). The respondent was a 15-year-old boy who had engaged in various criminal activities and had a history of absconding from family placements. However, the local authority had been unable to find secure accommodation for him. The judge expressed her concern over the lack of secure accommodation and directed that the Secretary of State for Education receive a copy of her judgment. Her comments come shortly after the judge in London Borough of Southwark v F [2017] EWHC 2189 (Fam), [2017] All ER (D) 08 (Sep) voiced similar disquietude about the situation.

    What is secure accommodation?

    It is accommodation of a child, by way of specialist placement, in a locked setting. That setting can be very extreme with high staffing ratios, near-constant observation of the child even at night, and removal of all objects that might pose a risk. Or it can be slightly more relaxed with, for instance, just monitoring of mobile phone use and an escort when the child is not at the placement.

    The problem at the moment focuses on registered secure accommodation. It is only placements that have been approved by the Secretary of State as official secure accommodation into which children can be placed under CA 1989, s 25.

    However, it is also possible to create non-registered secure accommodation. That involves, say, a local authority funding a bed in a residential home and then putting in extra, trained staff and restrictions to make it secure. Only the High Court can approve a child going to a placement like that. Any approval is under the inherent jurisdiction.

    When is secure accommodation typically used?

    Typically, secure accommodation is used for children who suffer from extreme behavioural difficulties. They might be at risk of self-harming and suicidal ideation or child sexual exploitation or they might present a risk of physical violence to others. Often, they will have a history of frequently running away from other placements and will deny or lack insight into the risks.

    Increasingly, however, there is a sub-category of children who are placed in secure accommodation: those who are at high risk of being victims of others. That could include junior gang members who have been exploited.

    A large proportion of the children have been abused, neglected or suffered parental rejection or loss. Many are late entrants to the care system.

    Which government department is responsible for providing secure accommodation units?

    The Department for Education appears to be at the centre of the storm. Nevertheless, it is notable that the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby P, saw the problem as a much broader one. He directed that a copy of his recent judgment in Re X (A Child) (No 3) [2017] EWHC 2036 (Fam), [2017] All ER (D) 47 (Aug) be sent to the chief executive officer of NHS England, Secretary of State for the Home Department, Secretary of State for Health, Secretary of State for Education and Secretary of State for Justice.

    A number of judges have publicly complained about the scarcity of these facilities, is this a new problem or one that has gone below the radar for a while?

    It is not a new problem. There has, for some time, been a real shortage of secure accommodation—either registered placements or those created on a bespoke basis by local authorities. Part of the cause is that a chunk of the secure accommodation beds is used by the criminal justice system, with the Youth Justice Board able to block-purchase beds. One aspect of the problem was highlighted by Munby P last year, which was the inability of the courts of England and Wales to place children in secure accommodation in Scotland: see Re X (A Child) [2016] EWHC 2271 (Fam), [2016] All ER (D) 48 (Sep). That had a particular impact on those in the north of England. The law has since been changed.

    It was recorded by the Department of Education in its December 2016 research report that, overall, the number of places in secure children’s homes (SCHs) in England had declined significantly since 2004 when there were a total of 435 approved beds across more than 25 SCHs. On 31 March 2015, there were 232 beds and only 14 SCHs remaining. This change had been driven by the reduced demand for youth justice placements as fewer children have been remanded or sentenced by criminal courts. Subsequently a number of local authorities decided that they could no longer operate an SCH without the predictable revenue that the Youth Justice Board block-booked beds provided. This had a knock-on effect on the availability of placements on welfare grounds. Things improved slightly in April 2016 when the number of Youth Justice Board beds in English SCHs reduced to 113, freeing up slightly more capacity for welfare placements.

    Do you have any predictions for the future?

    I see no easy solution. There is an increasing number of care proceedings going through the system. That may well lead to an increasing numbers of applications to place children in secure accommodation. When the beds are simply not there, local authorities are in a difficult situation and children are potentially left at risk. There will, I predict, be even more pressure on local authorities to create bespoke placements. That in itself is tough as their resources are cut. It looks bleak. It is no surprise that senior judges have felt the need to speak out in such striking terms.

    Interview by Robert Matthews.

    The views expressed by our legal analysis interviewees are not necessarily those of the proprietor.

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    Cases

    Wolverhampton City Council v JA and others (ZK and another intervening) [2017] EWFC 62

    Wolverhampton City Council made an application for care orders in respect of two children, X and Y, aged 13 and 12 respectively. In the Family Court on 18 August 2017, Keehan J found that X and Y had been subjected to sustained and prolonged sexual abuse in their father’s and mother’s homes over a period of years. They were further subjected to physical abuse by their father, and had been failed to an exceptionally serious degree by those whose duty it was to protect them, ie their father, mother and grandmother.

    Re X (A Child) (No 3) [2017] EWHC 2036 (Fam)[2017] All ER (D) 47 (Aug)

    The case concerned the future welfare and mental health care of a teenager, X, after the conclusion of her stay at ZX, a secure unit for youth offenders. X was 17 and had made attempts to commit suicide, and it was the opinion of a ZX member of staff that, if released, she would commit suicide within 24 to 48 hours. A care order had previously been made for X despite there being no plan for her release from ZX in mid-August 2017.

    Despite an earlier judgment identifying that X was in an urgent need for a care plan, no suitable facility had been identified that could adequately provide for her mental care needs. Accordingly, the Family Division adjourned proceedings to allow time to enable for further enquiries into placements for X on an interim basis. The court expressed deep concern at the lack of proper provision for young people in similar circumstances to X.

    Re X (A Child) (No 4) [2017] EWHC 2084 (Fam)[2017] All ER (D) 51 (Aug)

    In several previous hearings, X’s immediate welfare and mental health care needs following her imminent release from a secure unit had been addressed without any care plan being made. However, the Family Division, in the imminent proceedings, confirmed, following representations from NHS England, that an appropriate care plan had been established, including a suitable placement for X in an appropriate facility, ahead of her release.

    Re X (A Child) (No 5) [2017] EWHC 2141 (Fam)[2017] All ER (D) 76 (Aug)

    The present proceedings in the Family Division confirmed and approved X's transfer to a suitable psychiatric intensive care unit, and the care and treatment plan that had been produced by NHS England and the relevant local authority. Describing the outcome as most satisfactory, the court confirmed that it brought to an end any further immediate proceedings concerning X.

    R (on the application of Davey) v Oxfordshire County Council (Equality and Human Rights Commission and another intervening) [2017] EWCA Civ 1308

    In the first case before the Court of Appeal, Civil Division, considering the Care Act 2014, the defendant local authority had not acted unlawfully in having reduced the claimant's personal care budget from £1,651 to £950 per week. Accordingly, the claimant was unsuccessful in his appeal against the judge's decision dismissing his application for judicial review, as the judge had been entitled to make the findings he had on the risk that the claimant's existing team of personal assistants would no longer work for him, their rates and the claimant's social activities

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    FYI

    Government ‘must reinstate legal aid for vulnerable children’

    The Children’s Society has published a report highlighting the needs of unaccompanied and separated children navigating the legal system. The report found changes to legal aid provision for immigration cases have put some of the most vulnerable children at serious risk and unable to get the help they need. It has recommended the government reinstate legal aid for all unaccompanied and separated migrant children. See LNB News 22/08/2017 85.

    New youth initiative on mental health awareness

    A new course to be developed by National Citizen Service (NCS) aims to raise awareness of mental health issues among young people and improve their knowledge of how to get help. The course will be developed with mental health experts and NCS graduates, and will include a dedicated mental health awareness course for teenagers and training for frontline NCS staff to improve support to young people. All secondary schools will be offered the training by 2020, and all primary schools by 2022. See LNB News 18/08/2017 88.

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