Support the #Respect4SocialWork campaign today and celebrate the social work profession.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Children’s home market suits providers rather than children

The market for children’s residential homes is operating under a system that suits the providers rather than the children, a Labour MP has warned.

In a Commons backbench debate on children in care, Ann Coffey highlighted that high numbers of young people are being placed in children’s homes miles away from where they live because it is more profitable for private company providers.

Children’s homes continue to be set up in low cost areas that suit the businesses that run them rather than being in the child’s best interests, she warned. This results in clusters of children’s homes in cheap property spread unevenly across the country meaning local authorities have little choice but to place children miles from home.

According to 2014 statistics, more than a third of children ae being placed in children’s homes more than 20 miles or more from their local authority. One in 14 children over the age of 10 were living more than 50 miles away from their home area.

Seventy nine per cent of homes are in the private or voluntary sector and the private homes can charge more than £3,600 per child per week and more than £5,000 a week for children with complex needs.

Children in children’s homes are more likely to go missing frequently putting them at risk of harm and child sexual exploitation. In 2012 the government made a number of recommendations to help remedy the unequal distribution of children’s homes in the market and to mitigate the impacts of children being placed at distance.

Ms Coffey said: “It is disappointing that progress is slow. We have still got the continuing problem of the children being sent to where the homes are rather than the homes being where the children are. All of this evidence paints a picture of a market that is run in the interests of the providers not in the interests of children and young people.

“Clearly these big private equity firms do not invest in children’s homes for altruistic purposes. It is therefore important that their profits should not be at the expense of the needs of the children.”

Ms Coffey said that she hoped the current investigation into children’s residential care by Sir Martin Narey would set out proposals to ensure that children are not being put at risk by being placed long distances from their home areas.

She said it was vital that the £1 billion currently being spent by local authorities on children’s homes was used to ensure that the best possible care is being provided to meet the needs of looked after children.

Ms Coffey’s speech is available here.

 

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

ParentAssess and founder Sarah Lowe nominated for three awards

14/09/2022

ParentAssess founder Sarah Lowe’s outstanding contribution to social work has been recognised as she and the specialist parenting framework she established have been nominated for not one but three awards.

Sarah Lowe, founder ParentAssess

ParentAssess has been nominated for Innovation of the Year in the Family Law Awards and Executive Learning Disability and Autism Award in [...]

Read Full Story

Financial pressure is greatest challenge facing families

05/09/2022

The most common challenge for families is worries about financial pressures and the rise in the cost of living, a Family Review by the children’s commissioner for England has found.

Children's commissioner for England Dame Rachel de Souza

The Family Review, which is based on research from a Literature Review, a Call for Evidence, commissioned surveys [...]

Read Full Story

School staff need help tackling child mental health as anxiety among students rises

01/09/2022

Teachers are seeing increasing levels of anxiety and a rise in mental health problems among their students but lack the training and time to support young people.

Eighty two per cent of teachers are seeing anxious pupils and the worsening of existing mental health problems, compared to just one year ago, according to a survey [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram