Concerning the placement of a sixteen year old.
This was the third judgment in a month on the issue of placement of G, a 16 year old with highly complex needs. At two previous hearings, the judge had sanctioned the deprivation of G’s liberty in an unregulated placement. The local authority position was that G was in urgent need of a secure placement; the guardian was opposed to this and favoured a regulated non-secure placement with therapeutic input. In a situation which will be familiar with practitioners in this area, no placement of the latter type was available. Since the second judgment, G’s behaviour had deteriorated and she had self-harmed. This resulted in a real risk that the placement would need to be terminated and there would be yet a further unplanned move which would likely again be to a placement not designed to meet G’s needs.
The judge commented on the amount that had been spent without appropriate result for G, and further commented that “this is the cost of placing the High Court in what is, essentially, a regulatory role by reason of the acute shortage of clinical provision for placement of children and adolescents requiring assessment and treatment for mental health issues within a restrictive clinical environment, of secure placements and of regulated non-secure placements.”  He further noted that there was not only a acute shortage of secure and regulated non-secure placements per se, but also an even greater shortage of the subset of such placements equipped to cope with children with the multifaceted and highly complex needs demonstrated by G. 
Read the full summary on Family Law Week.