Review of Children and Young People Deprived of their Liberty in England and Wales – Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (February 2022)

Summary:  Review and summary concerned with what is currently known about children and young people across welfare, youth justice and mental health secure settings in England and Wales. 



Description:

Nuffield Family Justice Observatory have published What do we know about children and young people deprived of their liberty in England and Wales? An evidence review (full report) and a summary report.


The report summarises what is currently know about children and young people deprived of their liberty across welfare, youth justice and mental health settings in England and Wales from national administrative data and recent research studies.

 

They key findings include;

  • The largest group of children deprived of their liberty are living in the youth justice secure estate. The next largest group of children deprived of their liberty are those detained under the Mental Health Act (1983).
  • Many more children are referred for a place in a secure children’s home on welfare grounds than can ultimately be placed.
  • There is some evidence that there is a cohort of children with particularly complex needs who are seen as too ‘challenging’ to be suitable for a secure children’s home. This includes children with very complex mental health needs but who do not meet criteria for detention under the Mental Health Act.
  • This has led to a significant increase in the use of the inherent jurisdiction of the high court to deprive children of their liberty in alternative placements.
  • It is not yet clear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the number of children placed in secure settings.
  • A growing body of evidence shows that children entering welfare and youth justice secure settings have a high level of complex needs. This includes experiences of trauma and disadvantage from early childhood, such as exposure to neglect, abuse, family dysfunction, bereavement, abandonment and loss, relationship difficulties, domestic violence and parental problematic substance use, as well as associated experiences of socioeconomic disadvantage, poverty, and discrimination that persist throughout childhood.