O (A child : No Available Secure Accommodation) [2018] EWFC B60 (08 October 2018)

16 Oct 2018

This case represents yet another sorry example of the state failing a child in need, and highlights the impact of there being far too few secure accommodation unit places for children like O.

2. In summary, I have been driven not to grant a secure accommodation order for a child who needs one due to the unavailability of appropriate placements.

3. That is clearly a wholly unacceptable situation. He is a child in local authority care who is at risk from his disordered background and the depredations of gang life. This is the opportunity to help him and make him safe, and it is being lost.

4. Like my colleagues before me, whose published judgments increasingly feel like heads banging against brick walls, I am dismayed, frustrated and outraged; and to quote the former President of the Family Division from last year's case of Re X , I am deeply worried about the risk that 'we will have blood on our hands' (#39) .

5. I have directed that this judgment be sent by O's solicitor to the Secretary of State for Education, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and to the Children's Commissioner for England.

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