It shouldn’t take tragedy to put common sense into the children’s residential care system, says Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
Tony Lloyd was speaking out as the Government announced an overhaul of children’s homes to give vulnerable young people greater protection from sexual predators. It follows the recent shocking cases of sexual grooming in Rochdale and Oxford, where young girls were abused by gangs of men.
New rules mean private children’s homes will have report to the local authority when children move in and out of the area, and senior council officers will have to approve out-of-area placements if it is far from the child’s home.
Tony said: “I strongly welcome the changes announced by the Children and Families Minister today, particularly the mandatory sharing of information between agencies. This is something I have called for when looking at how we can better protect young people here in Greater Manchester, following the tragic case in Rochdale.
“However, all right-thinking people will be astonished that a care home can operate in an area without the police of local authority knowing. Children in these homes are among the most vulnerable in our society. Sharing this information is a simple, common sense approach which is all too often overlooked, and it’s these children who suffer for this failure.
“Child sexual exploitation has cast a dark shadow across Greater Manchester. The police, councils, health services and others have faced up to this complex issue and have transformed the way they work together to rid our communities of this abhorrent crime. No child should be a victim of this kind of horrific abuse, and all agencies, including private children’s homes – home to our most vulnerable – have a duty to protect them.
“Today’s announcement is a common sense, practical step which I hope will help police and local authorities to better identify vulnerable young people so we can work together and make sure they don’t become a victim to the vile individuals who prey on them.”
The Government has launched a consultation on the changes, which runs until 17 September 2013.