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HMIP Care Report: 'Distressing' Findings
Up to 3,000 vulnerable children are being failed by a care system that has seen abuse victims placed with sex attackers and a third of children moved 100 miles from home, inspectors have said.
A report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation (HMIP) has found that children are "shipped" out of their home areas, leaving them to face "extremely poor" futures.
Basic checks are not being made by children's services when placing these "vulnerable and potentially dangerous" children into homes, HMIP warned.
Around a third of children in the study were placed more than 100 miles from home and nearly two thirds more than 50 miles away.
In one example, a 16-year-old boy was moved 31 times since being taken into care at the age of three - including one placement that lasted less than 24 hours.
In another, a 13-year-old girl, a victim of sexual exploitation, was found having sex with a 15-year-old boy in the children's home.
Sexual videos of her were later found on his mobile.
The findings come at a time of intense focus on the treatment of vulnerable children following the Jimmy Savile scandal and revelations about horrific sex abuse in North Wales children's homes like Bryn Estyn.
Chief inspector of probation Liz Calderbank said she is shocked by the "distressing" findings, saying that "shipping" children over 50 miles away makes offending "inevitable" in some cases.
"The system is failing in terms of how it is trying to look after them," she said.
The inspectorate, along with education watchdogs Ofsted and Estyn, looked at 60 children in six regions in a joint inspection into the work of youth offending teams (YOTs) with children placed away from home.
A fifth of the children had themselves been a victim of crime while under supervision of the YOT and just over half the children inspected had offended within the care environment.
In one area a host YOT was unaware a 13-year-old girl, who previously set fire to a children's home, was in its care until two weeks after she arrived. It then took three weeks to obtain assessments.
The HMIP report makes several recommendations, including for the Department for Education (DfE) to strengthen regulations and local agencies to work together more effectively.
A Department for Education spokesperson said three expert groups are developing proposals to improve the care provided by children's homes.
They said: "It is completely unacceptable that some local authorities and homes are letting down children by failing to act as a proper 'parent'.
what do you think?
One good thing about the savile case is the lessons that have been learnt.though the revelations here dont surprize me at all.its time to change this system. These childrens homes are like prisons to a child.yet there often free to roam the streets.nobody makes checks on the children or supervises them everyday.
I was in and out of care from the age of 7. I was lucky to have always been placed with a family, whether it was in or out of my home town. By the age of 15, they tried to move me into a children's home...which I point blank refused! I was then fortunate enough to find a family who I clicked with and because of that I thrived! I wouldn't have had that opportunity to do well if I was put in the children's home! All children's homes must either go or have a suitable structure/ supervision!
Oh...and two of the men who previously worked in that particular care home have been investigated for under age sex with a few of the girls whilst under their care...one of which went to jail. The other (my support worker) I think got cleared of the charges!
This report could have been written 40 years ago for the little change that has happened in that time.A lot of the problem today is agressive social workers depriving certain parents of their children in the first place.The mantra seems to be control people through fear of losing their kids,we've read a lot of this in the papers lately. By sending them far from home they lose all contact with parents and open to all kinds of abuse either within the care system or on the streets where lots end up.It's a case of out of sight out of mind The 16 year old boy mentioned has been well and truly inst*tutionlised and will carry the scars for life.I met an adult once who said if parents really knew what went on in those places they would never leave sight of their children.