• Last resort or best interest? exploring risk and safety factors that inform rates of relocation for young people abused in extra-familial settings

      Firmin, Carlene Emma; Wroe, Lauren; Bernard, D.; (Oxford University Press, 2021-05-06)
      When young people are harmed in extra-familial settings children’s services may place them into care at a distance from their home authority to remove them from contexts in which they are considered ‘at risk’. Guidance and regulation suggest such intervention be used as a last resort and only in a child’s best interests. Using survey and interview data, this paper examines how relocations are used in response to extra-familial harm in 13 children’s services departments in England and Wales – exploring the extent to which they are intended to mitigate risk, or build safety, for young people. Findings demonstrate that rates at which relocations were used varied across participating services. Interview data suggests that variation may be informed by the strategic position a service takes on the use of relocation, the goal(s) of interventions used in cases of extra-familial harm, and the target of these interventions. In considering each of these factors the authors recommend further study into the national (varying) rates of relocation and the role of those who review care-plans for relocated young people; both intending to create conditions in which young people can safely return to their communities should they choose to do so