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Thousands of children in care being ‘failed by the state’ because of a broken residential care system reports Children's Commissioner

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The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has today (11 November) published a series of reports on a children’s residential care system that is broken and failing many of the most vulnerable children, in particular those who are most at risk of falling through gaps in the system and becoming victims of criminal or sexual exploitation.

The reports highlight the plight faced by certain groups of children in care including:

  • The 8,000 children who have three different homes within a single year
  • The 13,000 children who end up in unregulated homes at some point during the year
  • The hundreds of children who need a place in a secure children’s home but cannot get one anywhere in England

In response to the reports' findings, Dr John Simmonds, Director of Policy, Research and Development at CoramBAAF, said:

"Residential care is often seen to be a part of the history of our care system rather than the critical part that it plays for many children when it comes to their safety, welfare and development where family placement is not possible. The Children’s Commissioner’s reports set out a deeply troubling evidence base for the residential care system as a whole where it lacks coherence, resources and evidence about what works best in the interests of children in the short and long term.

"The care system is subject to a yet to be announced review. That review must prioritise an examination of the whole system including residential care to ensure that it meets the rights, needs and welfare of every child or young person. And Minsters must be held to account in ensuring that strategically and operationally the findings of this review are rapidly actioned and that residential care no longer operates as it did in the 1950’s and 60’s and now in 2020."