Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 16°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Ipswich: MP claims teenagers are being ‘dragged into the wrong crowds’ because they are being housed in B&Bs after leaving care at 16

14:44 13 May 2014

Bed and breakfast

Bed and breakfast

Archant

Ipswich teenagers leaving care have been left languishing in bed and breakfasts for weeks, an MP has said following a recent visit to the town.

shares

Education select committee member Alex Cunningham said youngsters from Suffolk were being put in “unsafe placements” and were being dragged into the “wrong crowds” following the fact-finding visit as part of a national probe into options for care post-16.

But Suffolk County Council said that the placements were only used in exceptional circumstances, such as night-time family crises or when dealing with cases with very specific requirements, and currently just nine out of 720 young people in care were in B&Bs.

Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “B&B placements are always made for as short a period as possible.

“The use of B&B accommodation is reviewed weekly and has decreased significantly in the last year.

“We will of course continue to monitor this closely so that we can keep the number of placements to a minimum.”

The MP made the comments during a select committee evidence session looking at how suitable and safe alternative accommodation provided by local authorities is.

The Government recently announced a new legal duty on local authorities to financially support every care leaver who wants to stay with their foster parents until their 21st birthday.

But the new law does not apply to young people living in residential children’s homes, or those placed in alternative types of accommodation.

Education committee member Mr Cunningham said during the evidence session said: “We have had young people who have told us they have been left languishing in a bed and breakfast for weeks on end.”

While committee chairman Graham Stuart said he had met children in Suffolk, some who had talked about provisions being “not that fantastic”. “It was mixed, if I remember,” he added.

Denise Hatton, national secretary and chief executive of YMCA England, told the committee: “We have a really good example of what is suitable for 16 and 17-year-olds in particular in Suffolk, where we have purchased a number of houses in residential areas.

“We would have a house with four bedrooms, but it would be supported accommodation, so there would be a trusted adult, on-site, staying overnight and working with those 16 and 17-year-olds to support them.”

The MPs visited YMCA accommodation as part of their visit to Suffolk, but they also saw other providers and met a number of young people.

Angela Thornton, director of accommodation at the YMCA in Suffolk, said that the recently refurbished homes in Norwich Road provided 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week support. The charity has 165 bed spaces across Suffolk.

She said: “We have come away from historic provision across the country when we had people working nine until 5pm or working shifts. We now offer a different model of service.”

She added the visit from the MPs was “all very positive”. “I did not get any negative feedback. The young people and the staff felt they had made a contribution to the way things would move forward. ”

shares

2 comments

  • Waspie's wife ..Yes I'm pleased this is being highlighted and I agree with hayley and lee, except because there are not enough supported units provided by the council social services have no choice in the emergency situations they face.. I agree about the areas they are well known.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

  • I am so glad this point has been highlighted as i've been saying it for years. The majority of the B&B's the council use are situated in the high crime areas, with some even in the centre of the 'red light district'. To me that is nowhere for any vulnerable youngster to be housed, but it seems to be ok with the council, in particular social services, who i am under the belief are meant to protect children in their care.

    Report this comment

    hayley and lee

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

A double lightining strike has hit and destroyed a house. Darren Hobson surveys the damage. Picture: Stephen Huntley.

A hero father-of-six who led his family to safety following a lightning strike to his home has praised his neighbours’ support.

Stuart Cullen, from the Lowestoft area, who died in the terrorist attack in Tunisia.

The family of a man who died in the Tunisian massacre have paid tribute to their “third musketeer”.

New Street, Woodbridge

Mrs Poppy died after a collision in New Street, Woodbridge, on Wednesday.

Libby Brown headteacher at Kyson Primary, Woodbridge.

A board of school governors has launched a fierce attack on Suffolk County Council after their headteacher had to stop work for seven weeks.

BBC Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy with one of the Scamnesty bids

A Suffolk Trading Standards Scamnesty campaign is using special bins across the county in a bid to snare unscrupulous conmen.

Cedar House, Pytches Road, Melton - set to have ten new homes in its grounds.

Developers who have bought a prime site on the edge of Woodbridge from the district council expect to submit proposals to create new homes next month.

Beach patrol rescue spaniels from Clacton beach.
Owner and her dogs.

A beach patrol team at Clacton swung into action to rescue two dogs yesterday evening.

Culford Girls under 18 Hockey Team January 1990

Were you a member of the Culford girls under 18 hockey team in January 1990. Were you in the squad photographed here?

Sybil Andrews at work in her studio, circa 1980 - Photo from the book

Suffolk artists are often hidden from history, but a campaigner is hoping to rectify that.

Murrayfield Primary School.

The headteacher of an Ipswich primary school has resigned just weeks after parents criticised a decision to axe after-school clubs and the end of term disco.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages