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Comment: profiteering in children’s social care

John Pearce, ADCS President, said:

“The children in our care deserve to live in homes that meet their needs and as close to the people and places they know as possible. However, finding the right home is increasingly difficult due to the significant shortfall in suitable homes in the right locations and this is particularly true for those children needing the highest levels of support. Local authorities can pay thousands of pounds a week for individual placements for children in their care while providers can choose which children to accept and at what cost due to high demand. We urgently need government to develop a comprehensive national placements strategy so that the right homes are available when and where they’re needed.

“Children’s services have long operated in a mixed economy with private, voluntary and community providers involved in the delivery of services locally. However, profiteering by some large private providers and growing private equity involvement into the provision of fostering and residential care placements is a concern as is the considerable levels of borrowing and debts that some private companies are holding. Should any of these providers fail, no single local authority could step in, and it would be children who suffer the greatest consequences. There should be a set of national rules to ensure the system is reset in favour of children’s best interests, not maximising profits. ADCS continues to call for new legislation which prevents profiteering in children’s services and for the introduction of pricing bands and caps.”


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