The government has set up a consultation on the use of unregulated accommodation for 16-18 year olds. This comes after an investigation by Newsnight which showed that young people were being placed in appalling conditions and often left to fend for themselves. If a young person is put in a residential placement where they are receiving care then this falls under the scope of a childrens home and is subject to Ofsted regulations. If they do not receive care and instead just receive support, then they can be put into accommodation which is currently unregulated.
The consultation outlines options to ban the use of unregulated accommodation for under 18s. However, in relation to 16-18 year olds it is seeking to create a legal definition of what care is so that 16-18 year old accommodation placements will only provide support. It then proposes to regulate this provision through quality standards. There is then a question as to whether the local authority will regulate the placements of whether this should be Ofsted.
The Care Leavers Association believe that 16-18 year olds need care as well as support. We believe that the option of quality standards will not be sufficient to improve the quality of care and support offered to young people. Any of the outcomes resulting from the consultation will not change the current situation where young people are being placed inappropriately in placements that do not meet their needs.
We have joined forces with a number of organisations to campaign to make the government change approach. You can see the campaign here.
We would encourage you to put in a response to the consultation which can be found here. The consultation closes on the 8th April.