Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, is calling for the Government to change the law to stop councils placing under 18s in care in unregulated accommodation. The change would see all children in care who need a residential placement housed in accommodation regulated under the same standards as children’s homes, and would put an end to 16 and 17 year olds being placed in bedsits, hostels and caravans.
The call comes as the Children’s Commissioner publishes a report, ‘Unregulated: Children in care living in semi-independent accommodation’, revealing how thousands of children in care are living in unregulated independent or semi-independent accommodation. These settings are not inspected and children living there often go without regular support from adults. This accommodation can range from a flat to a hostel or bedsit, and in the worst cases caravans, tents and in one case even a barge. These looked after children are entitled to ‘support’ but not ‘care’, and as a result are too often being left to fend for themselves, with minimal support, for all but a few hours a week.