Care home reforms to prevent child sex abuse
Vital reforms to protect young people from sexual exploitation whilst in residential care homes, as well as an overhaul of the entire system for children living in care have been announced today by the Children’s Minister, Tim Loughton.
A report by Deputy Children’s Commissioner Sue Berelowitz has revealed that certain care homes are being specifically targeted by abusers as the constant turnover of young people in them allows for “a constant flow of vulnerable children for perpetrators to exploit”.
The report came after nine men in Rochdale were sentenced in May for the abuse and grooming of young girls.
The new measures which are to be introduced include more vigorous checks before allowing children to be placed in care homes outside of their own boroughs and reviewing all aspects of the quality of children’s homes.
46% of children in care are placed in residential homes which are miles away from their home towns and ministers have expressed surprise that there is a need for this.
Alongside this will be the introduction of clearer data around the number of children who go missing from care, following concern from ministers that there is no comprehensive set of figures and huge discrepancies between the number of local authority figures for missing children and the number of incidents recorded by the local police.
Mr Loughton expressed his hopes for the future of children’s care, saying: “We want to get rid of an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ culture which sees residential care as a last resort, instead of protecting vulnerable young people and giving them the best possible start in life.”