Page last updated at 12:20 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 13:20 UK

Vulnerable children's care fears

Child in shadow
Vulnerable children are not getting the support they need

One in 10 children's homes in England fail to meet the required standards for keeping youngsters safe, a report says.

And some of the country's most vulnerable children are not being well served by the public services, the joint chief inspectors' review adds.

Those in local council care, seeking asylum, in prisons or in young offender institutions and training centres, are particularly poorly served, it says.

Ministers say they are determined to keep a focus on children's safety.

The report gives details of the Safeguarding Children review carried out every three years and assesses how well agencies are working at both national and local levels to protect children and young people.

It contains the findings of the chief inspectors of eight inspectorates including Ofsted, the Commission for Social Care Inspectorate and HM inspector of prisons.

'Accelerate change'

It also highlighted that some recommendations made in 2005 had not been implemented.

These included guidance on the use of restraint techniques in secure settings, the effects of detention in immigration removal centres on children and delays in welfare assessments.

Speaking on behalf of all the inspectors, chief inspector of education, children's services and skills Christine Gilbert said: "It is encouraging to be able to point to some tangible improvements over the last three years but the position is still not good enough to give our most vulnerable children and young people the support they need.

"I hope the recommendations from this report - coming as they do with the force of eight inspectorates behind them - accelerate the pace of change so that these children thrive and are more able to lead productive and fulfilling lives."

The report also claims there remains a lack of shared understanding of safeguarding between social care services and the criminal justice system.

And that there is a disproportionate focus on security issues in secure establishments, which it says has an impact on children's well-being.

The government said it had put in place new legislation, new guidance and new structures to help make children safe.

Children and Families Minister Kevin Brennan said keeping children safe was a top priority for government.

"The chief inspectors' report covers a period of tremendous change and acknowledges that most children feel safe and are safe.

"Where the most vulnerable groups are still at risk we will continue to push forward with programmes already put in place and strengthen arrangements to protect them.

"The child has been put at the heart of our reforms and we are determined to maintain a relentless focus on children's safety."


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