Children's home future to be reviewed

THE future of Birchen Lane Children’s Home in Tiverton is to be reviewed in light of tough new OFSTED regulations.

Devon County Council’s cabinet will this week be asked to consult staff, police, health and other partners in order to come up with the best way to care for the county’s vulnerable children in the future.

It has already published a report stating that specialist foster carers may be a better solution than residential homes.

Admissions to Birchen Lane were stopped last May after complaints were made that young people living there had been supplied with alcohol and propositioned away from the house by men.

In a report published by Devon County Council, Will Mumford, cabinet member responsible for children’s services, said: “We need to make sure we are providing the best care possible for these young people, who are among the most vulnerable we look after.

“We have already commissioned a review of our homes from a specialist external organisation which has now made a number of recommendations.

“Since placements were suspended at Birchen Road and also at Rifford Road, some of the young people who would have been there have been looked after by specialist foster carers.

“We’ve been able to work with our child, adolescent and mental health teams to ensure they are getting individual care, shaped to their specific needs.

“We are currently reorganising our foster service so we will have a greater range of foster carers able to look after children with the most challenging behaviour.

“This is likely to reduce the need for places in children’s homes and so it is important that we now have a thorough review of our provision.”

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