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Help at Hand is the Children’s Commissioner’s advice and representation service for children in care, children living away from home, children working with social services and care leavers. Children living in custodial settings; including Young Offender Institutions (YOIs), fall with the Help at Hand remit. Below is a case study from one of the children that Help at Hand has supported. 

Milo, 17 

Milo* is in a YOI. He has been in and out of care most of his life, and has not been in school since he was 11. Before he came into the YOI, children’s services said they were looking for somewhere safe for him to live but did not find anywhere and he was then charged with an offence and incarcerated in the YOI. His sentence was for a few months. It did not seem children’s services were making any plans for how to help him on release and so Milo spoke to an advocate in his YOI who contacted Help at Hand (and legal services). 

The lawyer and Help at Hand made representations to children’s services who then said they would look after him and come up with a plan of support. Unfortunately, this plan had been made last minute and is to put Milo in accommodation far from home with no education or work. Milo and those around him feel this is setting him up to fail. 

Help at Hand are continuing to fight Milo’s corner to make sure that the decision makers in his life look at how they can support him to thrive and not to reoffend.  

Children, advocates and professionals can contact Help at Hand by calling 0800 528 0731, emailing [email protected], or using our online form: 

Get in touch | Children’s Commissioner for England ( 

*Identifying details have been changed 

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