Title reads 'A PAG report on establishing children's homes

Children’s Homes: A PAG Report

PAG Staff2024, Article, Case Studies, Independent schools, Local Authorities, Policy, Schools, wellbeing

Children's Homes:
A PAG Report

The landscape of children's social care in England is evolving, with the government committing significant resources to expand and improve children's home placements. Using publicly available data and studies, and our own experience and expertise, PAG has produced a report titled 'Establishing Children's Homes', looking into what it takes to successfully establish and operate a children's home in England.

The Urgent Need for Children's Homes

The 2024 budget revealed a pressing demand for accessible and financially viable children's homes in England. With a £45 million commitment for additional placements and £120 million for maintenance, the initiative aims to alleviate local government dependency on emergency provisions, thereby enhancing the well-being of children in care. This move comes in response to the growing number of children's homes, which saw a 9% increase year-on-year to 2,880 facilities. The budget underscored a need for a more balanced distribution of homes across regions, rather than a blanket increase.

The Process of Establishing a Children's Home

Our report highlights the critical steps for MATs to establish children's homes, focusing on adherence to the Care Standards Act 2000 and subsequent regulations. From understanding the diverse needs catered to by these homes to navigating the registration process with Ofsted, the guidance provided is both detailed and essential.

Key Considerations  

• Categories of Registration: Homes must be tailored to support various needs, from emotional and behavioural difficulties to physical disabilities and mental disorders. Secure children's homes, however, follow a distinct registration process due to their specialized nature.

• Caring for Adults: Under certain conditions, children's homes can extend care to young adults, facilitating a smoother transition to adult services.

• Registering Secure Children's Homes: These facilities require initial contact with the Department for Education (DfE) or the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and must meet specific security standards.

Steps for Registration  

1. Pre-Application Preparation: Involves appointing a manager, submitting a statement of purpose, and identifying a representative for Ofsted interactions.

2. Location Assessment: A thorough examination to ensure the proposed site is suitable, safe, and beneficial for its intended purpose.

3. Documentation: Essential documents include a statement of purpose, safeguarding policies, financial viability evidence, and planning permissions.

Initial Actions for MATs  

The guide outlines strategic planning, engagement with regulatory bodies, and collaborations as initial steps. Understanding local needs, potential sites, and regulatory compliance is crucial for success.

The expansion and improvement of children's homes in England represent a significant and positive shift in children's social care. With detailed guidance and support services available, MATs have a clear roadmap for contributing to this crucial sector, ensuring children and young people receive the care and support they deserve. This comprehensive approach not only addresses the immediate needs but also lays the foundation for a more sustainable and equitable future in children's social care.

To read the full report, please see the bottom of this page.

PAG and Umbrella's Role

PAG, along with Umbrella, offers a broad spectrum of services to assist MATs in this journey, from feasibility studies to regulatory compliance, policy development, and staff recruitment. Their expertise is aimed at ensuring the establishment and operation of children's homes are both compliant and conducive to providing high-quality care.

At the time of writing, PAG is also actively engaged with a number of trusts and local authorities with a view to establishing new, high-quality, affordable independent provision to ensure no child is priced out of receiving the education they not only require, but deserve. You can read more about this in School's Week here, or alternatively, reach out to open a discussion.

For support with establishing a new school, SEND provision, or with any of our other services, please do not hesitate to get in touch via our Contact page above.