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I’m a child in care – where will I live when I am released?

Your social work team should be planning for your release from the time you entered custody. Your social worker should listen to your wishes and feelings when planning where you will live next.

If you are worried about where you are going to live you can contact Help at Hand.

What are the different places I might live in if I am in custody?

The Youth Custody Placement Service team decides where to place children who are remanded or sentenced to custody. You, your parent or guardian, their legal representative or the youth offending team can challenge a placement decision.

There are three different settings for children in custody:

  1. Secure children’s home – these accommodate children between the ages of 10 and 17. There will usually only be a small number of children in each home. Some children will be there because of a criminal justice reason (for example, they have been sentenced by a judge) and others will be there on welfare grounds (where a judge has ordered that the child needs to be there for their own safety).
  2. Secure Training Centre – these can accommodate children up to the age of 17 and are much larger than a secure children’s home.
  3. Youth Offender Institute – these hold children and young people aged 15 to 21.
I’m in custody and I need to speak to someone about my rights.

Advocacy You have a right to advocacy – a trusted person who supports you and makes sure you are involved in all decisions about your life, or speak out when things go wrong – in whatever setting you are in. How you access advocacy will vary, depending on where you are. You should be able to ask a member of staff, for example a case worker or someone from the Youth Offending Team, to put you in touch with an advocate.

You can find out the details of your local advocacy service here My local advocacy service – Coram Voice

Howard League: This is a charity that offers free legal advice. You can call their helpline on 020 7249 7373 and choose option one. This should be free and available from the phones in your setting.

Help at Hand: You can contact Help at Hand on 0800 528 0731 or via our contact page. This is free phone number and in most settings, it is already on the phones you have access to. If you can’t get in touch with us this way, ask a member of staff and we will organise a way to contact you.

Help at Hand is the Children’s Commissioner’s advice and assistance service for children in care, children who have a social worker or are working with social services, children living away from home and care leavers.

Children, young people, or their advocates can get in touch with Help at Hand for free by phone, website or email. 

Phone us free on

0800 528 0731

email us or send us a message via our online form

We are here to help

Before you decide to contact us, you might find the answer to your question is already here in our most frequently asked questions. Pick the option that applies to you for more information.

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a voice for teenagers in care and care leavers