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Local authorities are struggling to place children in care due to a lack of suitable accommodation, Ofsted have reported.
The report, which draws on interviews and focus groups with social workers, described the situation as a ‘last minute dash’ to house young people coming into care.
As a result, local authorities have left with no choice but to address each case as and when it arises.
There have also been accusations of private providers ‘cherry-picking’ children, making it more challenging for local authorities to meet their criteria and fulfil their legal duty to house children in need.
Ofsted’s National Director for Regulation and Social Care, Yvette Stanley said: “Today’s report lays bare some of the challenges facing local authorities when it comes to finding the care children need. More children are coming into care, many with high-level physical and mental health needs. The need to find places for these children quickly overrides local authorities’ long-term planning.
“It is clear that these findings are set against the issues affecting children’s social care nationally, and local authorities cannot solve the sufficiency issue on their own. There is a lack of suitable homes in the right places, particularly for children with the most complex needs – this needs to be addressed.”
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