We commend the government’s plans to allow Ofsted to share the names and addresses of children’s homes with the police.
Ellen Broome, Director of Policy, said:
'This is good news for some of the most vulnerable children in the county, who the police can now better protect from abuse and exploitation.
Vital change to the law
'We work directly with children who have suffered sexual exploitation, and a disproportionate number of those are in care. And we know that perpetrators actively target children’s homes, so this is a vital change to the law.
'This proposal was one of the key recommendations in a cross-party report we supported this summer, and are an important step in improving our child protection system.'
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Notes to editors
The Children’s Society supported the All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry on children who go missing or run away from care. The inquiry's report made a number of recommendations including:
- An independent investigation into children’s homes in England which are failing to manage and protect children who run away or go missing. This is despite spending £1billion a year on just under 5000 children cared for in children’s homes averaging £200,000 per child.
- A local authority performance ‘scorecard’ should be introduced to assess the care and protection of the 10,000 estimated to go missing from care in a year.
- Urgent action on 'out of area placements' to reduce the number of children living outside their own local authority, despite evidence which shows that this is often a major factor in causing them to run away and putting them at risk.
- Barriers which stop the police from being informed of the names and addresses of all children’s homes in their area must be overcome.
- A completely new system of reporting incidents of children going missing from care, which combines data from both the police and local authorities.
- Ofsted should not be allowed to give a ‘good’ inspection report to a home where there have been hundreds of missing incidents and more weighting should be given to the management of missing incidents in Ofsted’s inspections.
The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.
The Children’s Society has been campaign to protect children that run away for more than 25 years. For more information please visit www.makerunawayssafe.org.uk. The Children’s Society is encouraging people to write to their council to encourage them to sign the Runaways Charter, which people can do through the Make Runaways Safe website.