Children aged under 16 will no longer be placed in unregulated accommodation under proposals announced by the Government.
A consultation has been launched to introduce minimum quality and security standards for unregulated accommodation for under-16s. The Government hopes this will protect vulnerable children in care and help prevent young people from being exploited.
Under the proposals, councils will be required to work with local police forces when placing children out of area, and Ofsted will be given new powers to crack down on illegal unregistered providers.
Education secretary, Gavin Williamson, said: 'There are no circumstances where a child under 16 should be placed in accommodation that does not keep them safe. That is unacceptable and I am taking urgent action to end this practice and drive up the quality of care provided to all vulnerable children.
'Social workers and council chiefs have to make difficult decisions about the children in their care, so it’s important that we agree an ambitious approach to these important reforms to bring about lasting change in children’s social care.'
Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran MP commented: 'The Government is right to take tough action, but these proposals don’t address why children are being placed there – the shortage of children’s homes.
'Councils are desperate for the cash to ensure that every child who needs a place in residential care has one. But the Conservatives haven’t provided it.
'Meanwhile, funding for services to stop children entering care in the first place, like children’s centres and youth services, have been squeezed.'