Inspectors uncover 'widespread failures' at home where children keep going missing
PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:36 20 June 2019
Inspectors have slammed a children's home where youngsters regularly go missing, warning they are being dragged into crime.
The unidentified Norfolk home is meant to look after some of the most difficult children, but regulator Ofsted found "serious and widespread failures".
The private home is still open, but Norfolk County Council said it had stopped placing children there.
Inspectors gave the home, which has four children, an "inadequate" rating across the board after inspecting it at the end of May.
Last year the owner, Cambian Childcare Ltd, said it was improving its two Norfolk homes.
But while one has since been rated as "good", children's behaviour has got worse at this home, inspectors wrote in their report.
"Children have been drawn into criminal behaviour, substance misuse and violence," they wrote, adding there was an "excessive" amount of police call-outs.
One parent said of her child: "He lost everything when he moved to the home."
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Children have gone missing for several days at a time with one child disappearing 76 times in seven months.
Another child managed to leave the home late in the evening, despite his door being alarmed, without staff noticing.
And when an investigation into staff conduct was carried out it "lacked depth" and was contradictory, inspectors said.
They also rated the leadership and management as "inadequate".
The current manager is leaving this month and inspectors said the interim leadership arrangements were "unsatisfactory".
Only three of the nine staff were qualified and in April 2019 the manager raised "serious concerns" about staffing levels.
A Cambian spokesman said: "We have appointed a new manager who will lead the change required to return the home to a standard of care that we expect."
Despite all the problems the home is in demand, with authorities referring 10 children a day there.
John Fisher, cabinet member for the county council's children's services, said: "Only a small number of our children are placed in private care homes and on the rare occasion a home is subsequently judged as inadequate, we look at whether to move the children living there."