The growth rate for children’s homes has been far greater in the last year than at any other time in the last five years, according to Department for Education statistics.
The children’s social care statistics show an increase of 74 children’s homes between March 2016 and March 2017 with a total of 2,145 active children’s homes as at 31 March 2017.
However the figures show that the number of local authority run children’s homes continues to fall and privately run, for-profit, homes continue to account for the majority of all homes. In March 2013, local authorities ran 26% of children’s homes. This fell to 22% last year and to 20% in March 2017.
If short break only homes are excluded, then more than one-third of local authorities nationally (and more than two-thirds of the LAs in London) do not run any homes. Seven per cent of homes active at 31 March 2016 either closed or were re-registered in 2016 to 2017.
The statistics show that:
As at 31 March 2017, there were 2,050 children’s homes, with 9,124 places - this was an increase of 78 homes and 247 places from the previous year. There were 81 residential special schools registered as children’s homes, with 2,302 places - this was a decrease of 4 schools and 225 places from last year. In addition there were 14 secure children’s homes, with 238 places - this was no change in the number of homes and an increase of 3 places from last year. All but one of the secure children’s home are run by local authorities and the other is run by the voluntary sector.
At 31 March 2017, the proportion of children’s homes judged to be good or better was at its highest in the last 5 years. Nationally, local authority-run homes (85%) had a slightly higher percentage of good or better homes than both the voluntary (83%) and the private (80%) sectors.
Local authority-run homes also had the highest percentage of outstanding overall effectiveness judgements for the period, at 25%. In comparison, privately-run and voluntary-run homes had 14% and 19% respectively.
The DfE statistics reveal that there are approximately 12 million children in England, and of the 12 million, just over 3% are classified at any one time as children in need (394,000 children). Around 1% are children looked after (70,000 children) or on a child protection plan (50,000 children).
There were 127 SIF inspections published between November 2013 and 30 April 2017. This makes up 84% of all local authorities responsible for children’s social care in England.
Compared with 31 March 2016, the percentage of authorities judged as ‘good’ increased as at 31 March 2017, while the percentage judged ‘requires improvement to be good’ fell. Only a very small number of LAs (10, or 8%) were judged inadequate across all three key judgements.
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