You can download the full APPG report: No Place at Home
The report from the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults highlights the increasing number of children going missing from care placements. It highlights that when children are moved outside their home area the risks they face can escalate and potentially increase their risk of exploitation. This can be particularly so for children aged 16 plus who may be placed in unregulated care placements away from their local authority and away from their family networks, friendship groups, familiar surroundings and local resources.
In a piece by Children and Young People Now, Rachel Dickinson, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), has described some of the suggestions in the report as “wholly inappropriate” stating:
“ADCS strongly cautions against the view that all young people in out-of-area placements or unregulated provision are badly placed or left without support, indeed there are some excellent providers of services and the report does not recognise the important work they do.”Rachel Dickinson, President of ADCS
The appg report sets out the following key recommendations
- The Department for Education should develop an Emergency Action Plan to significantly reduce the number of out of area placements. The Government must take responsibility for ensuring that there are sufficient local placements to meet the needs of looked after children. This plan should address the supply and the distribution of children’s homes nationally, and the use of unregulated semi independent provision. It should be backed by funding.
- The law must be changed to ensure that unregulated semi-independent accommodation for children is regulated and inspected.
- Every out of area placement decision must be supported by evidence to demonstrate that the decision to place a child at a distance will keep that child safe and will meet their long term needs.
- A new requirement should be placed on children’s services to demonstrate that children and young people have been consulted and informed in advance and supported to prepare for any out of area moves. Contact with family and friends must be supported and planned for.
- The Department for Education and the Home Office should develop a cross departmental strategy on tackling child criminal exploitation and County Lines, specifically focusing on the risks to looked after children placed out of area.