Residential care for children

Residential care for children/Children's Homes are there to ensure that the needs of children are met when they cannot live with their own family. They are a place for children to develop and grow, as well as providing food, shelter, and space for play and leisure in a caring environment. Children's Homes look after children with many different needs.

When children and young people come to live in a Children's Home they will have a Care Plan. Their Care Plan says why a child is living in a home, what is supposed to happen while they are living there and what is supposed to happen at the end of their stay. Most children will go home, but a few go to live with other families and a few go to live in other homes. Older children who are not planning to return home, are given help to prepare them for living on their own - this is called Leaving Care Services.

Education is important. Children go to their own school if they have a school place, or we help to get them back into school. Some young people may also attend different resources in the community, for example college or alternative Educational packages.

It is very important that children and young people stay in touch with their family and friends. It is only when they might be hurt, or a Court Order says that contact is not allowed, that some children will not be able to have visits from their family or will not be able to visit them.

Children and young people are respected as individuals. By providing for their religious and cultural needs, children are encouraged to keep their sense of personal identity and community.

Eligibility for the service

Children and young people have to live away from their own families for all sorts of reasons. These include:

  • Their parents are unwell
  • They have problems with their family and need to spend some time away from home, such as behaviour problems or educational difficulties
  • They may have a disability and need a break from living with their families. (There is a specialist respite service located within Family Support)
  • They are in the care of local authority subject on a Court Order or an Interim Care Order, and,
  • Generally, when children and young people need to live away from their families, fostering will be considered first. It is only when Foster care is either not possible or not desirable accommodation or may not be what the young person would choose that residential would be recommended.

In all cases, an assessment will be made of the child’s needs, wishes and circumstances to ensure that the decision made regarding the child’s placement is a positive one which will have the best outcomes for that child.

Quality standards

Services to Children and Young People have their own Quality Standards Officer who visits Children’s Residential Homes monitoring the homes against their Statements of Purpose under the “Regulation 33” standard in accordance with the Community Homes Regulations 2001.

The Officer conducts unannounced visits to Residential, Respite (Disabilities) and Placement Support units each month, the purpose of which are to look at the day to day routines and records of the units plus conditions of the buildings both inside and out. The visits entail talking to staff, young people, parents and visitors.
Every 3 months announced visits are undertaken by Councillors who are accompanied by the Quality Standards Officer.

At the end of every visit the Officer writes up an independent report.

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