Anne Longfield, responding to the DfE’s announcement on unregulated accommodation for children in care, said:
“The Government’s ban on unregulated provision for under-16s in care is very welcome, but needs to go further and include all under-18s. There are too many teenage children in care living in completely unsuitable and sometimes dangerous accommodation, including hostels or caravan parks. Vulnerable 17-year-olds are sometimes placed in accommodation where they are easy prey for those who abuse or exploit children, and this change to the law will still leave them at risk.
“The proposals for Ofsted inspections of settings are also welcome, and it is right that the new standards are developed in consultation with experts and children with care experience. However this must be done quickly. The national standards must closely reflect the existing regulation for children’s homes so that we don’t fall into the trap of treating vulnerable older teens as adults rather than the children they still are.
“At the heart of these problems is a chronic shortage of residential provision for children in care and this must be something that both the current independent care review and forthcoming government spending review rectifies.”