Failing children’s home more concerned about protecting staff than vulnerable youngster, damning report says

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A children’s home run by a Stockport-based organisation has been slated in a report which said staff blamed a vulnerable youngster for incidents where he was the victim.

A children’s home being investigated over serious child protection allegations was more concerned about protecting staff than a vulnerable youngster in its care, according to a damning new report.

Ofsted inspectors found serious and/or widespread failures at the ‘inadequate’ Greater Manchester home – which cannot be named – meaning children were not protected or their welfare not promoted or safeguarded.

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The care and experiences of children were found to be ‘poor and they are not making progress’ at one of the five homes New Horizons (Stockport) Ltd runs in the city region, the report said.

Inspectors noted that serious child protection allegations were being investigated by the appropriate authorities, albeit these did not fall under its own authority or remit.

What did the report say about the home?

The report said there is currently only one child living at the home whom officials, who visited in March, found had been the victim of assaults in the community. However, the watchdog found the child was not supported when these had happened.

“There is a culture in the staff team to blame the child for these incidents,” the report states. “There is an emphasis on protecting the staff rather than supporting the child to make progress and have positive experiences.

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“They have not considered how they can keep the child safe in the community. Staff are not aware of all known risks to the child or how to appropriately identify and manage them.”

Ofsted has delivered a damning verdict on a failing children’s home in Stockport. Photo: AdobeStockOfsted has delivered a damning verdict on a failing children’s home in Stockport. Photo: AdobeStock
Ofsted has delivered a damning verdict on a failing children’s home in Stockport. Photo: AdobeStock | AdobeStock

Inspectors also noted that the staff team ‘fails to understand the impact of previous trauma on the child’.

“Staff have not consulted with the child about his care or provided him with an advocate to ensure that his voice is heard,” the report continues. “In addition, the child has not felt comfortable to share information with staff following an incident in the community. This does not ensure that the child is able to seek advice and guidance from the adults caring for him.”

The language used in the home’s documents was described as ‘not always helpful and puts blame on the child for situations when they are the victim. This gives the child the impression that they were at fault’.

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Moreover, the manager had also not escalated concerns over delays in ongoing police investigations, meaning ‘the child’s emotional and physical well-being is not being promoted’.

What else did the report say about the home?

Following the incidents in the community, staff restricted the areas that they would take the child to – meaning he was unable to do activities that he previously enjoyed. His home environment was not found to be an inviting place to stay.

“The home is unclean in places and the child’s bedroom has both visible damp and mould,” officials found. “The child has made requests for a new bed and mattress, which have not yet been actioned. This results in the child not living in pleasant and comfortable surroundings.”

While the child’s general health needs were met, there were delays in the staff obtaining medical support and advice following the child being assaulted and an incident of self-harm.

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He was also found to be ‘not receiving any education’ and ‘as a result, it is likely the child will leave school without qualifications that he is reported to be capable of achieving’.

Staff were not encouraged to discuss the child’s needs as they believed the child was soon to move out. Instead they were ‘being prepared to welcome another child to the home’, inspectors added

.The home was given a number of actions it was required to meet under law within the time frame stipulated by Ofsted.

New Horizons (Stockport) Ltd did not respond to a request for comment.

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