Intended for healthcare professionals


England’s “messy” detention system is unable to locate 200 children

BMJ 2019; 365 doi: (Published 16 May 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l2225
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. The BMJ

The Children’s Commissioner for England has described as “messy” the system that detains children for their safety. Often it has no information about who the children are, where they are living, and why they are there.

Anne Longfield said it was shocking that her team had found “over 200 children who would have remained completely invisible in the national data had we not asked about them.”

A review by the commission1 found that 1465 children were securely detained for their own safety in England in 2018: 873 in youth justice settings, 505 in mental health wards, and 87 in secure children’s homes.

An additional 211 children are authorised …

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