The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield has published a set of reports showing that the children’s residential care system is “broken” and “failing many of the most vulnerable children”, particularly those who are most at risk of becoming victims of exploitation.
The first report looks at children’s homes and highlights the issues facing those for whom the system is not working, including those who move between homes several times a year, those in unregulated homes, and those who cannot get a place in a secure children’s home in England. The second report looks at the growth of private companies providing foster placements and children’s homes and warns that there is a “clear lack of planning and oversight for the market”, which makes it “increasingly fragmented, uncoordinated and irrational”. The third report is the Commissioner’s fourth annual study of the instability that children in care experience and shows that one in four children in care moved home at least twice in two years, while 6,500 children in care had three or more home moves over the last two years.
The Children’s Commissioner is making a number of recommendations following the reports, including that councils collaborate more and the Government quickly set out a strategy to improve “capacity, stability, quality and costs in residential care.” The Commissioner also calls on the Government to launch the Care Review as promised in the Conservative manifesto and collect “standardised, detailed and timely information on services and prices across all providers in the care sector.”
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