Children Bill fails to recognise role of housing in protection

The Children Bill does not give sufficient priority to the role of
housing in protecting children, according to two of the most senior
people charged with implementing its proposals.

At the Question Time session, chair of the Commission for Social
Care Inspection Denise Platt praised the government’s aspirations
for child protection, but said that the bill failed to “adequately
address” issues around housing.

She said that the relationship between housing services and other
agencies was key in the case of Victoria Climbi’, adding that the
bill might need to change to reflect that. “There were some key
elements in that case that actually have to be addressed in moving
policy forward,” Platt said.

Children’s minister Margaret Hodge agreed: “I don’t think we have
done enough about housing.”

There is substantial pressure on the government to amend the bill
to give social services departments more powers to ensure
vulnerable families are housed.

Former housing minister Sally Keeble MP is expected to table an
amendment to the bill when it reaches the House of Commons which,
if passed, would give heads of children’s services the power to
overrule housing authorities when child safety was an issue. The
bill is currently in the House of Lords.

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