A BARNSLEY Council-run children’s home has been deemed to have ‘serious and widespread failures’ - which include locking food items away from the youngsters - according to an Ofsted report.
The home, which hasn’t been named, has been ranked ‘inadequate’ in the latest inspection which occurred in July - and was published earlier this week.
In the previous three inspections the children’s home had been ranked as ‘good’ but the latest report states that ‘welfare is not promoted or safeguarded and the care and experiences of children and young people are poor and they are not making progress’.
The home is registered to provide care for up to five children with emotional and behavioural difficulties and at the time of inspection there were five living at the home.
But there are a number of problems that have been identified with the home - from dirty bedrooms to broken beds.
An Ofsted report states: “The condition of the home is extremely poor.
“Some areas of the home are unsafe. The children’s bedrooms are dirty, and one bedroom had no furniture other than a bed.
“One child told the inspector that his bed has been broken for over six months.
“The poor condition of the home does not provide children with an environment where they can feel safe, valued or have a sense of belonging.
“The inspector identified that some food items are routinely kept in a locked cabinet in the staff sleeping room. This practice does not promote a homely and loving atmosphere for children.”
Children and young people are also not helped and protected at the home according to the report, and ‘missing from home’ protocols are not up-to-date.
One of the children - who had a history of going missing - didn’t have a protocol in place and two other documents had photos of children on them which were significantly out-of-date.
Staff training has been deemed to be significantly out of date which leaves the children at risk of ‘significant harm’ - and there’s even been occasions where the children have gone missing but staff haven’t been able to find them due to ‘insufficient staff’.
“Staff do not have up to date safeguarding, first aid, behaviour management or fire safety training,” the report added.
“Not all staff have attended medication training. However, on occasions they have been responsible for administering medication.
“Staff reported that they have been unable to access training due to staff shortages. This lack of essential training leaves children at risk of significant harm.
“There have been occasions where there has been insufficient staff to meet the children’s needs.
“For example, when one of the children went missing from the home staff were unable to look for them due to insufficient staff cover.
“This leaves children at risk of harm.”
The home has been given a number of requirements that it needs to comply with by September 24.
Coun Trevor Cave, cabinet spokesperson for children’s services, said: “We accept full responsibility for the OFSTED report of our children’s home.
“While we are disappointed to read the findings in the report, we are wholly committed to rectifying the concerns identified. We’ve already implemented many improvements and have a clear action plan in place.
“This is a home to five young people in our borough, and we want them to have every opportunity to succeed and live a fulfilling life. We will do everything we can to ensure children feel safe and looked after while in our care.
“The children received a letter from the inspector so their views are being heard in making all of the required improvements.
“The improvement plan is progressing with pace and progress, with many of the identified areas for consideration already completed.
“We’re making the necessary repairs to the building, redecorating and refurbishing the children’s rooms in the style that they want and the garden has been made safe.
“Children’s files have been audited and updated, and training is taking place.
“We’ve also set up a school holidays activities programme for the children, aligned with their interests and hobbies.
“Officers will report to the council’s Corporate Parenting Panel on the progress of the improvement plan and future inspection reports.
“We’ll be monitoring improvements closely to make sure the home is a safe, happy and nurturing place to live.”