Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 11°C

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

PUBLISHED: 14:44 13 May 2014 | UPDATED: 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.

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. ”

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

‘Stop Cornhill going downhill’ is a key message from the Bury Society as they scrutinised blueprints about how to improve the town for years to come.

A young man from Halstead who contacted more than 20 teenage boys online and persuaded them to perform sexual acts before he was tracked by American police, has been jailed for eight years.

A Suffolk nurse has been sanctioned after a health regulator found she put vulnerable patients at risk of serious harm.

A little boy who finally lost his battle with cancer will have his final wish fulfilled following a huge public response to his story.

A firm under investigation in Norfolk for the “shocking” state of accommodation it housed teenagers in has been awarded a £3.5m contract by Suffolk County Council to look after asylum seeking children.

Detectives investigating the murder of Dean Stansby in Ipswich last month have released images of potential witnesses who may hold vital information to help take the investigation forward.

A Colchester man accused of making and selling computer software which enables criminals to access personal details will face trial after denying the charges.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24