According to the Independent Children’s Home Association (ICHA) children in care are too often treated as criminals by society rather than victims of circumstances. This sometimes manifests itself in objections when applications to build new care homes creates hostility in nearby communities.
Since 2017 the number of children’s homes in England has risen by at least a quarter, to more than 2,700, but opposition to applications is often based on the perceived premise that house prices in the local area will drop rather than people showing concern for the welfare of children.
The view of ICHA is that children in public care have almost inevitably experienced early life trauma so the task of children’s homes is to address the consequences of such experiences and help children achieve their true potential in life. Social Services also have their part to play by identifying a safe space for children to be placed within a foster family, which in some cases, is not always possible.
At present, the number of foster carers is not keeping up with demand which may mean that the long-term life chances of children in care could be adversely effected. As residential homes play an important part in children’s social care by providing support for those who cannot live with their families, there is a wider risk associated with knock-on effects when objections are raised at a local level.
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