I’m very pleased to hear that the Government is now seeking to ban unregulated children’s homes following consultation.
In response to excellent journalism from the BBC who drew attention to this issue over a year ago, I raised the problem of kids in care being sent to live in private accommodation that was too often unsuitable or unsafe. I first met the (now former) Education Minister last March to call for an end to this practice after learning Bedford is a hotspot for out-of-area placements for looked-after 16 and 17-year-olds and raised the issue as an Early Day Motion in the last Parliament. At the time, the Minister was rather dismissive of the scale of the problem.
Bedfordshire police also raised concerns about the number of teenagers reported missing from care homes. They told me that vulnerable children are being placed in accommodation with known perpetrators of sexual and violent crimes and are are at risk of becoming victims of sex trafficking, organised crime or serious violent crime, and of being lured into criminal activity.
I’m so pleased that the Government has responded to the growing pressure on them to ensure these kids are safe.
No child should be placed in unregulated accommodation. Now we must ensure that ALL homes for children are safe and provide proper support and care which will mean addressing the housing crisis and giving local authorities the funding they need to look after the increasing number of children in care.