Care home ordered to improve after allegation that staff member dragged child across floor

A children’s home has been ordered to improve following an allegation that a child was dragged across the floor by a member of staff.

It comes after an inspection which also found children were shut in their rooms alone for 10 days following confirmed cases of Covid-19, and incidents including a member of staff turning up to work drunk were not reported to Ofsted.

The watchdog has judged that children are being put at risk by management failings and staff inexperience, and has issued two compliance notices to the provider, Cambian Childcare Ltd.

An inspection was carried out after a member of staff at the home, which cannot be identified, reported concerns about a colleague following the incident on January 24.

The inspection report, which has now been published, said: “It is alleged that the member of staff pulled a child across the floor by the child’s arms and held a bedroom door shut to prevent the child from leaving her room.

“In addition, there were concerns raised regarding the care arrangements for children in response to Covid-19.”

The inspection was carried out remotely due to the pandemic.

It added: “Serious and widespread shortfalls were identified in the leadership and management of the home and the protection of children.

“The inspector identified that managers and staff failed to take swift and effective action in response to the allegation made against the member of staff on January 24.

“Staff did not follow their own policies and procedures or report concerns quickly to managers and professionals.

“This delay had the potential to place children at additional risk.

“The child involved also made a complaint in relation to the incident and there was a delay in reporting and responding to this.

“As a result, the member of staff continued to work with the child despite the serious allegation against them.

Intoxicated

“Managers have failed to notify Ofsted of all serious incidents, such as allegations against members of staff."

The report added: “In November 2020, a member of staff turned up to work her night shift intoxicated with alcohol. Ofsted was not notified of this.

“A child made two allegations against different staff members. Ofsted was not notified of these.

“These shortfalls prevent Ofsted, as the regulator, from having sufficient oversight of the home to monitor it effectively.”

Inspectors also criticised the approach taken when cases of Covid-19 were confirmed within the home.

The report said: “Managers made young children isolate in their bedrooms for 10 days, including eating their meals in their bedrooms.

“This was not included in children’s care plans or risk assessments or agreed to by the placing local authority social workers.

“Documents indicate that staff were proactive in keeping young children in their bedrooms, and children were provided with little activity to occupy them.

“As the children and staff were isolating together, there was no justification for such restrictions of movement for young children.”

The report further said risk assessments were found to be incomplete and out of date, and poor record keeping by the manager meant poor staff practice went unchallenged.

Blocking

Care workers, including two still on probation, had not been given key training and were not receiving regular supervision.

Inspectors said staff did not always deal with children’s behaviour appropriately, including blocking doorways with their bodies to prevent children from leaving their bedrooms.

The report said: “The registered manager has not ensured that all physical interventions are recorded as such.

“This means that there is no oversight of their appropriateness or effectiveness. This places children at risk.”

As a result of the inspection, Ofsted has issued two compliance notices relating to protection of children and leadership and management. Nine further requirements have also been identified.

At its last full inspection in 2019 the home was judged to “require improvement”.

A monitoring visit was carried out in October 2020 at which “no serious or widespread concerns were identified”, but the new report said there had since been a change in management.

The home is registered to care for up to five children aged eight to 18 with complex behaviour resulting from early childhood trauma.

A Cambian Group spokesperson said: “We have taken the action required to address the concerns highlighted in the inspection report. These actions will return this home to the standard we expect.”

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