FIFTEEN county children have been housed in 'unregulated care homes, boats, caravans or bed and breakfasts' it has been revealed.

A freedom of information request submitted by a member of the public revealed that 15 Worcestershire children have been housed in 'unregulated care homes, boats, bed and breakfasts or caravans' since 2019.

Worcestershire Children First confirmed 15 children had been staying in the aforementioned accommodation.

It became illegal to put a child under 16 in an unregulated setting this month.

Tina Russell, chief executive of Worcestershire Children First, confirmed 11 children have been housed in unregulated accommodation and four have been placed in children homes that were not yet registered with Ofsted.

She said: “The use of 'unregulated' provision for children is only ever temporarily utilised for children under 16 years of age where we have no alternative registered Children’s Home provision available. This is therefore used in crisis situations.

"Since moving to WCF, we have used crisis provision for 11 children. These have included two young people accommodated on a barge, one in a holiday cottage, one in a hotel and seven in a static or mobile caravan. Each child has been supported by a staff team during their short term stay. In each case, Ofsted is notified and we monitor the young person’s progress and care carefully, as we seek to find a suitable registered provision.

"Supported Semi Independent accommodation is also 'unregulated' care provision and we use this for young people between 16yrs -18yrs of age.

"We have 184 young people, who as part of their care plan and transition to independence are placed in semi-independent provision and who make good progress.

"It became illegal to place a child under 16 in an unregulated setting in September 2021 and local authorities across the country are looking at how they can address the challenges in the lack of registered children home provision to ensure they meet this new legal requirement.

"Children's Homes are regulated by Ofsted and as such are 'registered' provisions. On occasions, a registered provision may become 'un-registered' either as a result of registration being removed or more commonly the provision going through the registration process but it being incomplete at the time of placement.

"We have used four unregistered provisions since October 2019 for young people where no registered provision could be found which matched their urgent need for accommodation."