Council’s kids homes need vital repairs

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Vital funding is needed to improve Calderdale Children’s homes or risk them being downgraded by Ofsted inspectors.

The director of Children Services at Calderdale Council has outlined to the Economic and Investment Panel that £120,000 and £43,875 is needed for improvements at centres in Cousin Lane and Alloefield View.

The report by Stuart Smith highlighted health and safety hazards in the homes and facilities not meeting the required standards.

“The majority of work done over the years such as central heating, fire alarm system, and general electrical work has been left with all wiring and pipe work surfaced mounted which creates a health and safety hazard due to the nature of the service supporting young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties,” said Mr Smith.

“The fabric of the bathroom units are badly worn and pose a hygiene risk in the context of communal living. 
“Bathroom fittings should be robust & easy to maintain, and the current furniture does not fit this criteria. This was criticised by Ofsted in its November 2015 inspection of Cousin Lane.

“There remain bathroom areas in both homes that have been highlighted as still not meeting the required standard. The bathrooms are mouldy, poor plaster work, broken sinks, poor flooring, dilapidated and not fit for a home for children & young people.

“The longer the Council leaves this unaddressed the bigger risk it poses to the inspection outcomes and grading.”

The Council has to provide placements for its 300 children in care.

Most can live with a foster family but some children require residential care because of their needs.

Funding options for the repairs at the two children’s homes will be considered by the panel and put forward their recommendations.