Negativity is hampering children’s homes’ ability to provide good care | Letter

Negativity is hampering children’s homes’ ability to provide good care | Letter

Excessive focus on normal safeguarding processes is compounding the shortage of residential childcare capacity, writes Peter Sandiford

I write on behalf of the Independent Children’s Homes Association, whose members include local authorities, charities and for-profit providers, in response to your report (Serious incidents more common in for-profit children’s homes in England, 28 June). Demand for children’s home placements is significantly outstripping available capacity, and two critical issues are preventing the development of additional capacity.

The first issue is the lack of suitable staff. The registration of new children’s homes to meet the placement needs of local authorities is a relatively straightforward process for providers. However, they cannot – and should not – do so without appropriately skilled and qualified staff. The second issue is the irrational focus on regulatory processes such as notifications – issues that must be reported to Ofsted. These are normal, important, day-to-day safeguarding processes in children’s social care, and do not automatically indicate a problem with the care being provided.

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