William Eichler 05 July 2016

Children’s care homes often ‘underestimated', review finds

Children’s care homes are too often viewed as an ‘anachronism’ and they are frequently ‘underestimated’, but improvements can still be made, report concluded.

An independent review of residential care in England, comissioned by the Department of Education, has discovered that, in spite of what is normally assumed, children living in residential homes in England are treated ‘overwhelmingly well.’

Depsite this, Sir Martin Narey, the former chief executive of Barnado’s and the report’s author, does put forward 34 recommendations for improving children’s residential care.

In the report’s introduction, Sir Narey wrote that children’s homes are ‘often viewed as an anachronism, to be used only as a last resort.’

He emphasised this was a mistake. ‘That is significantly to underestimate’, he explained, ‘the contribution they can make, the stability they can deliver, and the high quality care they can extend to children who have had terribly fractured lives.’

The review did, however, conclude there is still room for improvement and laid out a number of recommendations.

Sir Narey urged local authorities to be flexible when it comes to the issue of placement distance. He stressed the right placement for a child is more important than location.

He also recommended that local planning authorities should review their local plans to include a clear statement of housing need for children in children’s homes so providers understand whether or not additional homes are required.

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