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Poots launches minimum standards for children's homes

Health and Social Services Minister Edwin Poots today launched minimum care standards for children’s homes.
Thursday, 17 April 2014

The standards set out the minimum requirements that children’s homes must achieve. They also set the level of service that the children and young people living in residential care can expect.

Mr Poots said: “Children’s homes provide care for some of our most vulnerable children and young people and these standards will go some way to assure them and us that they are receiving safe, high-quality care.

“Standards create a benchmark against which providers can measure their services and inspectors can highlight areas of good practice as well as matters for improvement.”The Minister added: “Our goal must be to improve outcomes for looked after children and these standards will help achieve this. A number of children and young people who live in children’s homes and those who use short break services, were involved in the development of these standards which reflect their priorities and needs, as well as the requirements of the legislation.

“Recent events have shown sharply the need to protect and keep safe the children and young people in residential care and these standards balance the importance of giving these young people a life that compares with their peers with their absolute right to be kept safe whilst under our care.”

The standards will be used by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority as part of its programme for the registration and inspection of children’s homes to assess and report on the quality of care delivered.

These standards are part of a series of standards being published by DHSSPS. Standards for nursing homes; nursing agencies; residential homes; day care settings; domiciliary care agencies; residential family centres; and childminding and day care for children under age 12, have already been published.

Standards can be accessed online.

Notes to editors:

  1. Minimum Standards apply to residential care for children – children’s homes, secure accommodation and homes that provide respite care for disabled children. At 30 June 2013, there were 50 children’s homes in Northern Ireland – 41 statutory homes and 9 independent. There is provision for up to 354 places in homes across Northern Ireland.
  2. The draft care standards are part of a series of standards which are being published by DHSSPS. Standards for nursing homes; nursing agencies; residential homes; day care settings; domiciliary care agencies; residential family centres; and childminding and day care for children under age 12 have already been published.
  3. The standards will be used by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority to register and inspect children’s homes.
  4. The standards were developed in partnership with service users, providers and commissioners as well as RQIA. A public consultation ran from 30 May to 6 September 2013 and the report on the responses received to the consultation can be found online.
  5. The standards can be found on the Department’s website.
  6. Media queries should be directed to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 90520567. Out of hours, contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699745440 and your call will be returned.