Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP has announced that a ban on placing vulnerable children under the age of 16 in unregulated accommodation will come into force in September.
The Government will also bring forward plans to support councils to create more places in children’s homes, alongside additional investment, and give inspection agency Ofsted new powers to take enforcement action against illegal, unregistered providers.
Cllr Judith Blake, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said that the announcements “are positive steps towards ensuring that all children in care live in good-quality homes that meet their needs and help them to thrive”.
She added: “A key driver for the increasing use of unregulated placements for children under 16 is a lack of suitable regulated homes. The Government’s commitment to funding to increase children’s homes provision, which we have previously called for, is a helpful recognition of the pressures on placements.
“However, this funding will not be available immediately, and councils are keen to work with government to quickly develop the places they will need to meet these requirements.
“We remain convinced of the need for wider regulatory reform to deliver the homes children need, alongside investment in workforce and support services, and urge the chair of the independent review of children’s social care to look closely at these issues.”