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REPORT FINDS VARIATION IN QUALITY OF CARE IN CHILDREN'S HOMES

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A report published today shows that standards of care in children's homes vary from excellent to poor, according to...
A report published today shows that standards of care in children's homes vary from excellent to poor, according to the Department of Health.

'Corporate Parents', the result of inspections of 33 children's homes by the Social Services Inspectorate, is the first national report to come from a team of SSI inspectors and young people who have themselves been in care. It found that there is much room for improvement in children's homes.

Herbert Laming, chief inspector of SSI said: 'Children in public care look to their care staff and to the local authority as their guardians and parents. Following the scandalous cases in children's homes of pin-down in Staffordshire and Beck in Leicestershire it is heartening that our inspectors report almost all children feel safe and cared for.

'Residential care for children is now about caring for older children, with young children usually going into foster care. children in residential homes are often in their early teens. The context in which they are cared for has not changed enough to reflect the growing needs of more older residents.'

The report finds that a number of improvements are needed. It found also that councillors who had ultimate responsibility for the homes received little information and seldom took part in visits and that black children's needs and experiences were not valued or acknowledged. Also commented on by the inspectors was the fact that children had to live in very dull unstimulating surroundings and that there was limited space for private meetings with family friends or social workers and there were inadequate bathing and toilet facilities.
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