National Care Service - children's social services: overview

Overview of social services provided to children and families in Scotland. It forms one of a collection of contextual papers about social care and related areas in Scotland, linking to the National Care Service consultation.

This document is part of a collection

Secure Care Accommodation

Secure care accommodation is a locked residential care setting that provides intensive trauma-informed support, care, and education to children aged 12-18 years who may be a significant risk to themselves or others in the community. A secure care placement can only be authorised following a decision through the Children's Hearing system, court, or as an emergency placement for a looked after child for up to 72 hours before attending a Hearing or court.

7.1 Capacity

In Scotland there are five secure care accommodation units in total. As at 31 July 2021, there were 84 beds available in five secure units (of which, one is a local authority run setting and four are independent) in Scotland, compared with 90 beds in 2014. In 2021, the annual average number of residents was 76, compared with 74 in 2014.

7.2 Admissions

In 2021, 177 young people were admitted to secure care accommodation (rate of 0.31 per 1,000), compared with 232 young people in 2014 (rate of 0.39 per 1,000; Chart 11). Admissions may include young people who are from elsewhere in the UK.

Chart 11. Rate per 1,000 of young people admitted to Secure Care, 2014-2021
This line graph shows the rate per 1,000 young people admitted to secure care accommodation between 2014 and 2015. Broadly, it shows that the number of young people admitted has declined since 2014.

Rate per 1,000 is calculated using relevant NRS mid-year population estimates for those aged 10-19 years.

Young people can be admitted more than once during the year.

7.3 Demographic profiles of residents

In 2021, 56% of residents were male and 44% were female. The highest proportion were over the age of 15 (72%; Chart 12).

Chart 12. Age of residents, at 31 July 2021
This pie chart provides the breakdowns of age of residents as at 31 July 2021. Of all age groups, the order of the most to least common age groups were as follows: 16 years or over (51%), 15 years (21%), 14 years (17%), and 13 years or under (12%)

In 2021, 23% of residents had a disabilty[19], while the remaining 77% either did not have a disability, or this information was not known.


For queries relating to a child at risk of harm please contact the appropriate local authority directly.

For queries relating to this publication contact: 

Back to top