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Drop in care standards

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
Dumfries and West
Drop in care standards

STANDARDS of care have dropped at a children’s residential home in Dumfries, according to inspectors.

The Care Inspectorate turned up at Hardthorn Road Children’s House in February last year, having given short notice beforehand, to assess the running of the facility.

They marked three key areas as “weak” and the other two categories as “good”.

The site has been providing care for a maximum of five children and young people, aged between eight and 18, since 2013.

In its first inspection in June 2014 it received “good” scores in all areas and staff were praised for the “warm and welcoming environment”.

However, the latest report showed there has been a decline. The lone inspector spoke to staff, and had three out of the four teenage residents fill in a questionnaire, while he checked out the place.

While the young people commented that they liked staff, one youth said they felt unsafe “every time that (another young person) decided to vandalise the place and abuse staff and police”.

It was also reported that one teenager never complied with Covid rules at the time and would abscond from the care home.

Lillian Cringles, the council’s chief social work officer, insisted that steps have been taken to improve the service at the care home.

In a report for councillors, she wrote: “Significant changes have taken place in Hardthorn Road since our last inspection in February 2021. The national pandemic has ensured that the movements within and out of the Children’s House have been kept to a minimum.

“We have continually reviewed our staffing compliment to ensure this is relevant and appropriate to meet the needs of all of the individual young people.

“In discussion with the young people, we have also sought to improve the resources available to the young people and following consultation with them a number of items have been purchased to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of the young people which has included a trampoline, bikes, outdoor activities, gaming beanbag chairs and many more items which has greatly enhanced the service.

“The service continues to work in partnership with locality teams, local schools, Looked After Health Team and other independent agencies.”

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