A lack of children’s homes across England and Wales has led to more young people living in unregulated provision or far away from their homes, Ofsted has warned. There are currently 78,150 children in care – 12 per cent more than in 2015 – and despite numbers of providers and places increasing, this is “not always in line with the increase in numbers of children in care”, the report warns. From August 2018, the system saw a six per cent (131) increase in the number of homes but a one per cent (176) increase in the number of beds, it states.
The report raises concerns over a lack of children’s homes in the south of England and London with higher proportions in the North West, East Midlands and West Midlands. The North West saw an increase of 60 homes (11 per cent) but the South East saw a decrease of nine homes (three per cent). This leads to “some children being placed a long way from their original homes”, the report states, with latest figures showing that on 31 March 2018, 53 per cent of children were living outside of their local authority. Ofsted is calling on the government to review the current care system in a bid to gain “a better understanding of the needs of children in care at a national level” and for more “investment in the sector so that there are enough places in the right areas”. Read more.