Safeguarding Children with Disabilities and Complex Health Needs
The Child Safeguarding Practice review Panel have published the phase two report into safeguarding children with disabilities and complex health needs in residential settings. This report is the culmination over 18 months of looking in-depth at the very serious abuse and neglect of over 100 children, most of whom were non-verbal and living very far from home.
The stories of the sustained abuse at three children’s homes run by the Hesley Group are shocking and harrowing. It is clear that the leadership and management of those homes was woefully inadequate and there is an ongoing criminal investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice. This national child safeguarding practice review makes nine national recommendations to deliver the changes that are needed to protect children living in residential settings from abuse and harm.
Too often the distinctive needs and vulnerabilities of this group of children are overlooked and not understood. It is vital therefore that the learning from this review leads to improvements in the quality of provision, in the commissioning of services and how residential provision is overseen and regulated.
We ask all safeguarding partners, practitioners and other stakeholders reading this newsletter to take the time to reflect on this review and what it means for the children for whom they have responsibility. A central message in this review is that it is critical that leaders, managers and practitioners work together, including across education, health and children’s social care, to support these children and their families to be safe, to thrive and enjoy their lives.
The National Panel would like to thank Doncaster Safeguarding Partners who first alerted us to the abuse of this group of children in the Hesley residential settings, requesting that the Panel undertake a national review. Many thanks also to the many stakeholder organisations, inspectorates, parents advocacy groups and other experts who contributed to this national review.
Read the full report here