Plaistow children’s home shut over claims of abuse and bullying by staff

Rachael Burford
This respite centre on Dongola Road, Plaistow, has been shut-down with immediate effect after Ofsted was tipped-off about possible safeguarding issues: Google

A respite home for disabled children has been shut indefinitely amid allegations young people were physically and verbally abused by staff.

The seven-bed centre in Dongola Road, Plaistow — run by the Good Support Group, a company owned by Newham council — had its registration revoked immediately after a visit on June 25 by the children’s services watchdog.

Ofsted made a monitoring visit to the facility after reports children were “not being sufficiently safeguarded”.

In a report inspectors said they viewed footage, taken by staff members, that showed “incidents where staff were seen slapping children and shouting at them in a loud and aggressive manner”.

They were also told a staff member had allegedly been seen withholding food from a child at the home, which specialises in the care of children with autism, physical and learning disabilities and complex health needs.

Newham council passed the videos to police but the Met said today that there was no ongoing police investigation.

“The matter was referred back to the local authority for any action they wish to take,” he added.

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Ofsted is continuing to visit the home, which looks after children on a temporary basis to give parents a break from 24-hour care, to ensure no child is being admitted. Inspectors identified “significant and concerning shortfalls in the safeguarding practice of leaders, managers and staff,” an Ofsted report states. “These shortfalls place children at significant risk of harm.”

There were also “delays” in reporting the alleged abuse by staff who witnessed it, the report found. In one case it took staff eight months to report alleged abuse by other carers.

“Consequently staff who had been recorded shouting at and slapping children and allegedly withholding food, remained working in the home,” Ofsted said. The report added: “A number of staff have clearly used their mobile phones to film children. Children have had their privacy placed in jeopardy.”

Another alleged “serious safeguarding incident” in April 2018 involving a senior member of staff and two agency carers was not reported by management until three months after it was said to have happened.

An investigation was launched but before it was completed the senior staff member returned to work, despite the “serious nature” of the allegations. “This may have placed children at risk,” inspectors said.

A Newham council spokesman said: “We are concerned that the care offered has not met the very high standards we demand. Our priority is finding alternative provision for all children.”

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