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Support for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) detained in custody


The Children and Families Act 2014 put in place new duties from April 2015 to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) aged 18 and under who are detained in custody.*


What are the new duties and requirements?

  • There is a duty on the home authority (where the young person is usually resident) to co-operate with relevant providers of youth custodial institutions, youth offending teams, Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England. 
  • There is a duty on relevant youth accommodation to co-operate with local authorities. 
  • There is a duty on the Youth Offending Team (YOT) to co-operate with local authorities and to have regard to the SEND Code of Practice. 
  • The YOT may bring a child or young person to the attention of the authority if they have concerns that a child of young person has or may have SEN. 
  • A young person, a child’s parent or the person in charge of the custodial establishment has the right to request an EHC needs assessment from their home local authority. 
  • The YOT must notify the team with responsibility for SEN in the child or young person’s home Local Authority that they have gone into custody. 
  • The home Local Authority must send the child or young person’s Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan to the YOT within 5 working days. 
  • The Local Authority must keep the EHC Plan while the young person is detained– it must not be ceased.
  • The Local Authority must keep the EHC Plan and must arrange appropriate special education provision for the child or young person as set out in the plan. 
  • NHS England must arrange appropriate health provision for the child or young person as set out in the EHC Plan. 
  • While in custody the EHC plan should continue to be used to actively monitor a CYP’s progress towards their outcomes. The Local Authority should conduct a monitoring meeting and continue to do so every 12 months.
  • When the CYP is released their EHC Plan must be considered as any other EHC plan in the community and the home Local Authority must review the plan. 
  • The new legal framework ceases to apply either when the young person is released; turns 19 or moves into the adult estate.


Key principles of the approach

  • The home Local Authority LA has continuing engagement and responsibility for arranging a child or young person’s special educational provision while they are in custody. 
  • The child or young person receives appropriate special educational provision and health provision in custody. 
  • Identifying need and ensuring that provision continues on release will help a child or young person’s resettlement. 
  • Making a request and getting an assessment underway in custody will be a good use of time.


Local Arrangements

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s Youth Offending Team (YOT) and the Children and Young People Disability Service (CYPDS) has arrangements in place to work jointly to ensure that the above duties are fulfilled.

A young person would be offered support by a specialist Education, Training and Employment (ETE) worker in the YOT Service as part of their licence conditions on their release from custody and would receive ongoing support from the Children and Young People Disability Service as appropriate.

Going forward further work will be undertaken to put in place an agreement to formalise these arrangements. 


Further information

  • Further information on the new duties is available in Chapter 10 of the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice.
  • The Council for Disabled Children also has a number of resources.
  • You can also contact the Children and Young People Disability Service on 01628 685878 or email if you have any queries.

* Children and young people who have been sentenced or remanded by the Courts to a Young Offender Institution, a Secure Training Centre or a Secure Children’s Home (relevant youth accommodation) in England.