Children’s home branded ‘inadequate’ with staff failing to safeguard children

A Shropshire children’s home has been branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted after inspectors said children were at risk of harm because of staff and management failings.

A damning report published following an inspection last month says the home is failing to safeguard one child who is known to smoke cannabis and spend time in a den near a railway line.

The regulator has issued three compliance notices ordering the home to make a string of improvements, as well as a notice restricting accommodation – preventing it from taking in any new children.

The home, run by Keys Group, was previously rated ‘good’ and is normally allowed to care for up to three children aged eight to 17.

It is currently home to two youngsters, one of whom “is at significant risk of harm” and “is not making progress”, inspectors said.

The report says the manager has acknowledged that the home can no longer safeguard the child and has asked the placing local authority to find an alternative placement for him.

However it says the child’s risk assessment is not up to standard and there is therefore “no clear plan to reduce the risk of harm” to him while he remains at the home.

It says: “For example, the child often visits a den which has been built on a farmer’s field near the home. This is close to a railway line and public footpath.

“There is no monitoring by staff when he is in the den to ensure that he is safe.

“Risk assessments have not considered the risks posed by the railway line or people who may visit the den.

“As a result, the child is at risk of significant harm from others and the railway line.”

The report continues: “One child is known to smoke cannabis and there is no clear plan to support the child to reduce their cannabis use.

“The registered manager is unable to establish where the child obtains cannabis.

“Staff do not always know the child’s whereabouts and he is able to leave the home without staff knowing.

“The child has sold belongings and received money from their parent, but staff are unaware of how the child has spent this money.

“Furthermore, there are no plans in place as to how staff can reduce opportunities for the child to obtain drugs.

“Consequently, one child continues to smoke cannabis with the continued risks to his health and well-being.”

The report also says the boy is reluctant to attend school, rarely engages with activities, has been allowed “to use intimidation and threats” to get his wishes met and “remains at significant risk to himself and others”.

However it acknowledges that the other child at the home has made good progress, has 100 per cent attendance at school and takes part in extra-curricular activities.

“The manager and staff have taken the necessary action to ensure that the child receives the support they need to make good progress,” it adds.

The report also says staff have supported children to maintain relationships with their families.

As a result of the inspection, a notice restricting accommodation and three complaince notices were issued relating to the ‘positive relationships standard’, ‘protection of children standard’ and ‘leadership and management standard’.

Keys Group was contacted for comment.

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