Shropshire Star

Unregulated homes for teens ‘normal’

Twelve youngsters are currently housed in unregulated or unregistered settings in Shropshire.


Shropshire Council’s People Overview Committee will be told that the 16 or 17 year olds have been placed in settings which have not been registered with Ofsted or the Care Quality Commission.

The authority said the move is relatively normal for youngsters about to transition into adult life, but the Government has been increasingly looking at the practice.

Sonya Miller, interim assistant director, children’s social care and safeguarding, said the council’s use of unregistered settings is low compared with the national average and work was being carried out to tackle it.

She said: “There are a few situations where the decision is made to place a young person in ‘other arrangements’ that are not registered children’s home and operate as a semi-independent provision.

“Unregistered provisions are not regulated by Ofsted and are mostly used for young people age 16/17 years in preparation for their independence.

“Despite their being no regulations governing semi-independent provisions, there is a responsibility placed on local authorities to assess the quality and suitability of these settings.

“There has been increasing Government scrutiny in recent years about the use of unregulated settings.

“The Government is concerned that the provision is being overused to place vulnerable and high-risk young people and in some situations children under 16 in these provisions.


“Any increase nationally in the use of these provisions must be seen in the context of a lack of appropriate and sufficient ‘regulated’ placements for children and young people which has placed local authorities with the challenge of having no available identified placements, especially for older, vulnerable and complex young people.”

She added: “Shropshire has 12 young people in semi-supported accommodation which are unregistered.

“All of these young people are age over 16 years, and all are Year 12 and year 13, so have completed their statutory education.

“Some of these young people are receiving an element of care, such as support hours to prepare for independence or to undertake specific tasks in the community to support transition to adulthood such as support with visits to supermarkets, banks etc.”

She said overall use was low and decisions were taken to place children in unregistered settings was taken at a high level.

“There is an appropriate focus by the Government and from Ofsted on the high use of unregistered settings for a number of young people up and down the county,” she added.

“Whilst Shropshire’s use is low, we have on rare occasions had to resort to using unregistered providers to care for our young people in the absence of alternative options.

“These decisions are taken in consultation with the assistant director and director, the placements are carefully monitored and the unregulated solution is used for as short a time as possible.”