Department for Education announces ban on unregulated accommodation for certain children in care

Last year, the Children’s Commissioner for England reported that 12,800 children in care had spent some time living in unregulated settings during 2018/19.

The Children Commissioner’s Office published a number of reports in November 2020 based on research with children in care and care leavers about their experiences of the care they received from providers. Most were not concerned by who owned their care home, but they did care deeply about the care they receive and the people who give it.  The reports can be accessed here.

On 12 February 2020 the Department for Education published a consultation on unregulated provision for children in care and care leavers. The consultation response was published on 19 February 2021. The consultation outcome can be accessed here.

On 19 February 2021 the Department for Education announced it will ban the use of unregulated accommodation for children in care aged 15 and under from September 2021 (through amending The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010).

The press release by the Department for Education and The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP outlining the ban can be accessed here.

Article 39 is a small, independent charity which fights for the rights of children living in state and privately-run institutions in England. On 19 February 2021 the charity wrote an article titled “Education Secretary gives green light to two-tier care system. The charity considers that  “the partial ban on non-care placements to be discriminatory and not consistent with local authorities duties under the Children Act 1989.”

They continue to do their best in trying to persuade the government to guarantee care to all children in care. They feel that “Parents up and down the country provide loving care to teenagers while respecting and encouraging their growing autonomy, and so should the care system.”

Their response to the 19 February announcements can be found here. It includes a table explaining the disparity between children’s homes and Independent and semi-independent accommodation in context to relating to care, rules and ofsted.

The charity has a campaign to make it law that every looked after child receives care until at least their 18th birthday. For details of the campaign and how to join it can be accessed here.

Local VCSE organisations supporting children and young people may find the reports of interest and may want to get involved in the campaign.