£2m children’s home could be run by children charity

A £2M purpose-built children’s care home shut down after just seven months could be reopened, Cardiff council has confirmed.

The authority said it was looking at whether Thornhill Road Children’s Home, in Llanishen, could be run by an outside body, such as a charity.
Thornhill Road Children s Home

The closure of the council-run home in December followed a damning reported by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW).

The inspector found staff felt “overwhelmed” and “let down” by their managers, while some children said they’d been “threatened” by other children.

The report said “very few” aspects of the service had been delivered in “a manner suitable to adequately safeguard or promote the welfare of the young people”.

Following the inspection in October, CSSIW started legal action to have the home’s registration cancelled, but the council chose to voluntarily close it in December.

Following the Echo’s exclusive revelations, the home this week came under the spotlight of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee.

At the meeting, executive member for social services Kirsty Davies said a number of the assertions made in the CSSIW report had subsequently been proved “unfounded”.

She also said that all of the children at the home had since been found alternative accommodation “consistent with their care plan”.

But Canton’s Labour councillor Cerys Furlong said she was “angry” the closure had not been brought to the attention of the committee, adding: “Had it not been in the public domain I fear it would have been overlooked and not brought to our attention as councillors.”

Asked about the home’s future, the council’s corporate director for social services Nick Jarman said several options were being considered.

“One of the most difficult issues is that they are children with challenging issues. It’s likely to always to be very difficult, demanding and expensive,” he said.

“We will need to bring some options forward because there has been a significant investment in it (the home).

“One option is to reopen it and contract it out to a charity, such as Barnardo’s, who would run it and the council scrutinise it. Experience generally shows that is more successful.”

Coun Davies added: “The idea of a partnership with a third sector is being considered in this review.”

The home, at 150 Thornhill Road – previously the site of another council-run children’s care home, John Kane House – opened in May last year.

The purpose-built facility cost £1.92m and was designed to look after a maximum of eight children, aged between 11 and 18, at any one time.