Welsh Government in bid to remove private profit from care of looked-after children

Welsh Government in bid to remove private profit from care of looked-after children

A bill proposing to remove private profit from the care of looked-after children has been introduced by the Welsh Government today (20 May).

The move would make Wales the first country in the UK to remove profit from both residential and foster care for children.

This comes as concerns have been raised over excess profiteering within the private sector, and the quality of private residential accommodation for children, which is often unregulated.

A 2022 report by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said private providers were making “materially higher profits” than would be expected if the market “were functioning effectively”, while some were also carrying high levels of debt, posing risks to the stability of supply.

Under the new proposals, the future residential, secure accommodation and foster care of looked after children in Wales will be provided by the public sector, or by charitable or not-for-profit organisations.

Speaking to the BBC, the Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru (ADSS) warned that more funding is “desperately needed” to make the vision a reality.

The Association noted that homes need to register with Care Inspectorate Wales, therefore a “significant” amount of investment would be needed to kick start the process and keep it running.

Minister for Social Care Dawn Bowden said: “The Welsh Government is committed to an ambitious reform of children’s care services so they work better for children and their families.

“We do not believe that private profit should be made from caring for children and young people whose circumstances require them to be in the care of a local authority.

“This bill will eliminate private profit from the care of looked-after children and ensure public money is used to deliver improved services which meet children’s needs and deliver better experiences and outcomes.”

The Health and Social Care (Wales) Bill also proposes giving people “more say and control” over their healthcare, by enabling direct payments to become an option for individuals who have been assessed as having a primary health need and who are entitled to receive continuing NHS healthcare.

Lottie Winson

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Team @ AberdareOnline

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