Children’s home workers should be professionally registered like social workers, abuse inquiry says

Interim report reveals great concern by lack of professional registration for children's care home workers in England

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Photo: antic/Fotolia

Children’s home workers should face the same professional registration requirements as social workers, the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse has said.

The inquiry’s interim report said it was “very concerned by the absence of professional registration for those working in care roles in children’s homes in England”.

It said children in residential settings were “particularly vulnerable to abuse by adults” working in them, yet in England social workers are the only staff working in residential homes who must be registered.

In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland children’s home workers must be professionally registered.

“There is no requirement for individual care workers, other than social workers, to register with an independent body charged with raising standards within the profession and supervising their fitness to practise. Regulation of a care setting by an independent inspectorate complements effective professional workforce registration ‒ it does not replace it,” the report said.

It said the Care Standards Act 2000 provided the legislative groundwork to register these professionals, but it was never enacted and was subsequently amended. The inquiry called on the government to address this

Position of trust

The call comes as the inquiry revealed that a “significant proportion” of victims and survivors taking part in The Truth Project said they were abused by people in a position of trust.

“Nearly one in three (28%) were abused by family members and around a quarter (23%) have said that they were abused by teaching or educational staff,” the report revealed.

A further fifth were said to have been abused by perpetrators such as friends of the family or trusted members of the community and “nearly one in eight (12%) have indicated that they were abused by other professionals, such as medical practitioners, social workers and police.”

An emerging theme identified by the inquiry was that common ways of thinking about child sexual abuse had “deflected responsibility away from perpetrators and institutions”, denied harm and failed to accept abuse had taken place.

It said open and honest leadership and discussion about child sexual abuse was needed within institutions to effectively tackle it.

Struggle to access records

The inquiry has also heard how adult victims struggle to access records relating to their childhood.

“Often victims and survivors are seeking access to records to help them understand how the abuse they suffered happened or why it was allowed to continue. The inquiry has heard of instances where records were not created in the first place or have now been lost or destroyed. This can be distressing to victims and survivors, and can lead to perceptions of cover-up,” the report said.

Alexis Jay, chair of the inquiry, said the report draws together the key themes emerging from the more than 1,000 victims that have participated, five public hearings and eight seminars.

9 Responses to Children’s home workers should be professionally registered like social workers, abuse inquiry says

  1. A social worker April 26, 2018 at 11:53 am #

    Not only that but semi-independent accommodation for 16 and 17 year olds are unregulated (no Ofsted, no CQC, nothing), requiring local authorities to monitor and supervise external businesses.
    Some of which are great, some of which are less so.
    And these are some of the country’s most vulnerable young people.
    Outrageous.

  2. Harvey Campbell April 27, 2018 at 9:35 am #

    There is an equally compelling argument for having the same in adult social care. However, where there is a predominant culture of knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing, I very much doubt if it will ever come to fruition.

    • John May 2, 2018 at 11:37 am #

      Harvey I think that would be an extreme can of worms. As not all workers in social services are registered never mind support workers.

  3. John McDonald-Baker April 27, 2018 at 12:20 pm #

    I’ve been calling for years for this to happen, it’s aboutvtime

  4. Sw111 April 27, 2018 at 5:05 pm #

    To give weight to the voice of the client/children/adult, an independent body like that of an ombudsman should be in place.
    We cannot rely on management as scapegoating and collusion will become rife.
    To ensure that workers are supported and practice is safe and client focused, there should be a regulatory body, unlike hcpc though.
    While considering placements, Ofsted reports are taken into consideration but it is essential that care workers are also registered with a body.

  5. Izobel April 27, 2018 at 10:17 pm #

    I believe all those working with children or adults with learning disability should have a minimum of a level 4 qualification, and pay to reflect this. Only then will care be delivered by people who have extensive knowledge about their client base. Minimum. wage roles attract workers with no skills and likely no motivation to excel at their job. Raise the pay, employ only extensively qualified people, and make care a highly skilled role.

    • John May 2, 2018 at 11:39 am #

      That would require a change in how society views care. Which clearly is not going to occur any time soon with the direction we are heading.

  6. Angela English April 28, 2018 at 10:59 pm #

    I’m not sure that a piece of official paper turns a monster into a genuine, caring person.

  7. Mary April 30, 2018 at 8:50 am #

    There are others areas of care and support that require greater scrutiny. Adult day services across clients groups older people, learning disability, physical disability and mental health are not regulated or inspected by CQC. Many of these services are supporting individuals with personal care and they are managing medication.

    Also many supported living services are never inspected by CQC as the services are registered under personal care, they inspect the registered office, and only a percentage of services. Again these services are supporting individuals with very complex needs who require 24 hours support. There are many supported living providers properties that would face enforcement action if they were residential care home for the state of the properties.