Figures reveal fall in number of children`s homes

The number of children’s homes in England has fallen by seven
per cent since 1997, including a 14 per cent drop in local
authority maintained homes, according to new government

The statistics show that there were only 672 local authority
maintained homes in March 2000, compared with 783 in 1997.

The number of children’s homes run by the voluntary sector also
dropped from 62 in 1997 to 54 in March 2000. However, the number of
privately registered children’s homes leapt by 16 per cent, from
221 in 1997 to 256 in March 2000.

Rob Hutchinson, chairperson of the Association of the Directors
of Social Services children and families committee, said: “During
the past two decades, there’s been a steady reduction of
children placed in residential care. This has been as a result of
increased placements in fostering and adoption, now standing at 82
per cent, successful preventive work, and some demographic

Hutchinson said there had been a five per cent increase in the
number of looked-after children in the last year, and a consequent
slight increase in the use of residential care. But he predicted
that plans by social services departments to increase the
proportion of children placed in fostering and adoption placements
to 87 per cent by 2003-4 would “either maintain the present
situation or lead to a further reduction of use”.

Hutchinson added that an increase in the number of private
sector placements could reflect a rise in the use of very specific
placements, such as those with educational facilities on the




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