NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) has written a letter to the Children’s Minister, Kemi Badenoch MP, in response to Department for Education (DfE) consultation asking for views on professional registration, and existing approaches to regulating the children’s homes workforce.

NYAS is the leading provider of Regulation 44 visits, independent inspections of children’s homes. Every month we visit 420 homes with the potential for meeting with and making recommendations for approximately 2,000 children. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the call for evidence on the children’s homes workforce and the chance to share our evidence and the experiences of young people we work with.

We believe that the whole workforce should have a full understanding of the rights and entitlements of children in their care, to ensure that these are realised and the child’s wishes and feelings are taken into account in decisions made about them. A rights-based approach to working with children and young people will be better guaranteed by strengthened roles, high quality training, and independent scrutiny in children’s homes.

We outlined some of the key themes and recommendations that we see across England and Wales from a NYAS-wide perspective.

These themes broadly fall under five headings:

1. All children’s home managers and staff in care roles should be listed on an open and transparent professional register held by an independent body, which can be accessed by future employers.
2. Roles within children’s homes must be strengthened to safeguard the best interests of children and young people.
3. Loop-holes around timescales and no penalties for not completing qualifications must be closed, while practical barriers to qualifying should be minimised.
4. Independent visits (Reg.44) must be truly independent.
5. The right of care-experienced young people to have their voices heard in decisions made about them.

Responses will inform the Department for Education (DfE)’s thinking on where improvements could be made so children living in residential homes receive high-quality care in a safe environment. The consultation closes on 27th August and we look forward to the outcomes later in the year.
Read the letter in full here