Children’s Care Homes: Reform Debate

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Department: Department for Education
Monday 20th November 2023

(6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I have already talked about the change to the financial oversight that we want to bring in the children’s social care market. The noble Baroness will also be aware that we are introducing a regional model for providing homes for children and we are working with partners both within the sector and in health and justice to co-design this. We will be piloting two regional care co-operatives, which we hope will rebalance that power dynamic between the providers and the local authorities.

Lord Balfe Portrait Lord Balfe (Con)
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For those who were fortunate enough to grow up in a Sheffield City Council children’s home at a time when councils had children’s departments, the input of private equity into this sector is totally wrong. It sends all the wrong messages, and it also prevents integrated care between a local authority and the homes that are provided. All of this about loving care is, frankly, nonsense. What are needed are decent homes, and the realisation that some children actually like living in a children’s home, as I did, because it provided security and a good environment. Can we look at chasing private equity out of the system?

Baroness Barran Portrait Baroness Barran (Con)
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I thank my noble friend and have great respect for him sharing his own experience from Sheffield. The reality of our situation today is that just over 80% of children’s home places are provided by the private sector, so we need to make sure that the sector is resilient. We are working on this in a number of ways, including increasing funding and provision, and reform, before we chase people out in a way that could destabilise provision.