Children's home run by Blackburn with Darwen Council shut over sexual exploitation risks

Children at the Blackburn with Darwen Council care home were said to be inadequately protected from the risks of sexual exploitation Credit: PA Images

A council-run children's home has closed because it failed to protect children from sexual exploitation.

Alongside "significant and serious failures" of safeguarding and management Ofsted found one child had been shut in their room, while another was able to leave when an a staff member fell asleep.

The children's home, run by Blackburn with Darwen Council, provides care for up to four children who are unable to live with their own families.

The home, which has not been named, was told to improve after an Ofsted inspection in May, but made "insufficient progress" in a follow-up inspection in July.

The Ofsted report revealed 'serious and widespread failures' at the children's home Credit: Ofsted

In September it received an "inadequate" rating, and concerns were raised about the safety and wellbeing of children at the home.

Inspectors said one child was moved to another facility because staff could not manage "unsafe behaviours and risks". Another child was said to have shown "indicators of sexual exploitation".

The council apologised and said keeping children safe was "a top priority".

Denise Park, Blackburn with Darwen Council's Chief Executive, said: "We are sorry and extremely saddened this service fell far below the high standards we expect for children and young people in local authority care.

“Two months ago we took the decision to close the home. We have always committed to preventing anybody being placed in a service classed as inadequate.

“We have two other residential settings for children and young people which are rated by Ofsted to be good and outstanding. What we are focusing on now is listening and acting on the feedback.

“We are absolutely determined to make sure the positive practices identified in the report, such as involvement in positive activities and accessing education, are maintained and improvements happen across the whole service so all of our most vulnerable children and young people receive the highest standards of care, support and protection possible.

“Changes have been made and we have brought in additional expert guidance to support on our review. Our role of keeping children safe and improving their life chances is something that the whole council understands is a top priority.”