Social Care Wales commissioned a project to explore the experiences of young people from Wales who received secure orders between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2018.


Young people aged 10 to 17 from England and Wales can be placed in secure accommodations across the UK. Whilst secure accommodations can be entered via the youth justice system or being placed by social services for welfare reasons, this report is solely concerned with the experiences of young people referred for welfare reasons.

Activities and Methods

Pertinent local authority data was identified and examined, and interviews were held. Interviews took place with 11 young people who had used secure accommodation during the project timeframe, 30 social workers and 12 other professionals involved in their care, a foster carer and a family member. Read the report on the Social Care Wales site.


The project sought to gain better understanding of the experiences of young people from Wales before, during and after time in a secure or alternative accommodation, with interest in:

  • The life histories of young people
  • Young people’s experiences before, during and after time in secure accommodation
  • How well young people’s needs and behaviours were supported and influenced by the nature and therapeutic model of the settings currently available
  • How decisions and plans were made for a young person following secure accommodation
  • The outcomes and stability of young people’s placements after secure accommodation
  • The emotional and physical wellbeing of young people after leaving secure accommodation
  • What happened when secure accommodation orders were given but alternative accommodation provided because no bed in a secure placement was available.

Lead Person

Principal InvestigatorDr Annie Williams

Academic Team

Academic StaffHannah Bayfield
Academic StaffMartin Elliot
Academic StaffJen Lyttleton-Smith
Academic StaffRhiannon Evans
Academic StaffHonor Young
Academic StaffSara Long
FundersSocial Care Wales
Related PublicationsWilliams, A., et al. 2019. The experiences and outcomes of children and young people from Wales receiving Secure Accommodation Orders. Cardiff: CASCADE
LinksDECIPHer, Social Care Wales