Homes for Looked After Children Over 16 Years Old

On Monday 3rd December, local MP for South West Bedfordshire, Andrew Selous, asked the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the
(a) level of harm caused to children and
(b) amount of police time expended as a result of the absence of regulations governing over 16 year old children's homes; if he will
(i) instruct Ofsted to undertake inspections of those homes and
(ii) introduce a fit and proper person test for directors of those homes; and if he will make a statement.

Nadhim Zahawi, the The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education, responded,
“All children’s homes are governed by the same legislation and regulations, regardless of the age of the children they look after. We expect local authorities to safeguard children in their care aged over 16 in the same way they safeguard any looked-after child and for Ofsted to challenge those that are not meeting their duties.”

“Under the Care Standards Act (2000) and the Children’s Homes (England) Regulations (2015), all providers of children’s homes, including children’s homes catering for young people 16 and over, must be registered with Ofsted and, where the provider is an organisation or partnership, appoint a registered manager. Each individual connected to the registration of a children’s home must have their fitness to practice continually assessed by Ofsted.”

“We recognise the impact calls from children’s homes can have on police time. We recently published a new ‘National protocol on reducing unnecessary criminalisation of looked-after children and care leavers’: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-protocol-on-reducing-criminalisation-of-looked-after-children. This will inform social care providers, including children’s homes, on practice in responding to an incident, and aims to reduce the burden on police caused by unnecessary call-outs for low-level behaviour management and issues we would normally expect a responsible parent to manage without the support of the police.”