Youth justice

Policy actions  2 of 3

Secure care

Secure accommodation is a form of residential care that restricts the freedom of children under the age of 18. It is for the small number of children who may be a significant risk to themselves, or others in the community. Their needs and risks can only be managed in secure care's controlled settings.

Secure care aims to provide intensive support and safe boundaries to help these highly vulnerable children re-engage and move forward positively in their communities.

Secure care provision

There are 78 secure places available in Scotland, provided by 4 independent charitable organisations:

  • Good Shepherd Centre, Bishopton (18 beds)
  • Kibble Safe Centre, Paisley (18 beds)
  • Rossie Secure Accommodation Services, Montrose (18 beds)
  • St Mary’s Kenmure, Bishopbriggs (24 beds)

The Secure Accommodation Network is updated daily and provides contact details as well as information on current vacancies.

Further information on capacity and usage can be found in Children's Social Work Statistics Scotland: 2021 to 2022 (April 2023).

Secure care pathway and standards

The Secure Care Pathway and Standards, Scotland set out what support children should expect from professionals when in the community or secure care. Implementation of the Standards will ensure that support is provided before, during and after a stay in secure care and that the rights of children and young people are respected.
Children and young people in care and with care experience were involved in developing the standards along with secure care staff, local government and the Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ). The Secure Care Standards website gives information on why these Standards matter to children and young people and includes links to guidance and legislation.


STARR provides a space for people of all ages with lived experience of secure care to come together, spend time with peers and friends, and share ideas of how to improve the secure care journey. If you are interested in joining STARR, please contact

Court appearances and sentencing

Scottish Ministers are responsible for placing and managing the sentences of:

  • children under the age of 16, and young people aged 16 to 18, who are on Compulsory Supervision Orders, who have been convicted under solemn procedure (the most serious criminal cases) by the court and sentenced to custody
  • all children under 18 who are convicted of murder

If a local authority has a child or a young person due to attend court on a solemn matter, they should notify the Scottish Government’s Child Placement Manager as soon as possible:

Alison Melville
Child Placement Manager
Children’s Rights, Protection and Justice Division
Area 2-C (South)
Victoria Quay

Tel: 07867 390282 (office hours)
07554 332310 (out of hours)


More information can be found in the custody of convicted children and young people practice guidance.

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