As a coalition whose members deliver specialist care and education services for children and young people with complex needs, we noted with interest your article on vulnerable Scottish children possibly having to go to secure units in England because of a lack of secure accommodation in Scotland (8 January).
We too are very concerned by this practice and it is nothing short of a national disgrace that young people are being sent into secure accommodation often far outwith their local area or will potentially be sent to secure units in England due to a lack of capacity in the system.
These are young people who are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable in Scotland, 96 of the 16,041 in care.
Young people are best served by being accommodated close to their friends and family. And yet over the last few years there has been a reduction in the number of secure beds available in Scotland.
The current situation is clearly a major concern for any organisation upholding the rights of the child in Scotland and adds to the deep distress experienced by the young people concerned and their families already under immense pressure and strain.
The Scottish Government must commit to ensuring that all those children requiring treatment are cared for in a setting that is as close to their home environment as possible.
The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition comprising:
Who Cares? Scotland
Falkland House School
Spark of Genius