FIFTEEN children in the county have been housed in “unregulated care homes, boats, trailers or guesthouses,” it was revealed.
An access to information request submitted by a member of the public revealed that 15 children in Worcestershire have been housed in ‘unregulated care homes, boats, guesthouses or caravans’ since 2019.
Worcestershire Children First has confirmed that 15 children have stayed in the aforementioned accommodation.
It became illegal to place a child under the age of 16 in an unregulated setting this month.
Tina Russell, chief executive of Worcestershire Children First, confirmed that 11 children were housed in unregulated accommodation and four were placed in children’s homes that were not yet registered with Ofsted.
She said: “The use of an ‘unregulated’ provision for children is only used temporarily for children under 16 when we do not have any registered alternative provision for children’s homes. It is therefore used in crisis situations.
“Since we moved to WCF, we have used crisis care for 11 children. They were two young people accommodated on a barge, one in a lodge, one in a hotel and seven in a fixed or mobile caravan. Each child was taken care of. by a team of staff during their short stay. In each case, Ofsted is informed and we closely monitor the young person’s progress and care, as we seek to find an appropriate recorded disposition.
“Supported semi-independent accommodation is also an ‘unregulated’ care provision and we use it for young people aged 16-18.
“We have 184 young people, who as part of their reception and transition to autonomy project are placed in a semi-autonomous environment and who are progressing well.
“It became illegal to place a child under the age of 16 in an unregulated setting in September 2021, and local authorities across the country are seeking to address issues related to the lack of registered children’s homes to ensure that they meet this new legal requirement.
“Children’s homes are regulated by Ofsted and as such are ‘registered’ arrangements. incomplete at the time of placement.
“We used four unregistered dispositions since October 2019 for young people for whom no registered dispositions could be found corresponding to their urgent housing need.”