10 Sep 2020

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, is today 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.

Welcoming the publication of the Children’s Commissioner’s report into unregulated accommodation, Iryna Pona, Policy and Research Manager for The Children’s Society, said: 

“A shortage of accommodation results in too many children, including those in care or at risk of homelessness, being placed in unregulated housing. Too often, this does not meet their needs and is far away from their home area. We know from our research that this puts them at greater risk of going missing and makes them vulnerable to horrific criminal and sexual exploitation by adults who want to control and manipulate them. This worrying issue requires urgent attention.

“No child should ever be placed in housing that exposes them to danger. Children’s safety and wellbeing should be at the heart of all decisions about where they are accommodated. The Government must ensure that there are sufficient local placements to meet the needs of looked after children and those at risk of homelessness, including vulnerable 16 and 17 year olds who need help preparing for adulthood. It is crucial that these placements are regulated.” 

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