Another Kind of Home: the Skinner Report

by Angus Skinner

Social Work Services Inspectorate for Scotland (1992) Another kind of home: a review of residential child care (Edinburgh:
Her Majesty’s Stationery Office)

Though produced in the
shadow of abuse inquiries in England and Scotland, this report by Angus
Skinner stands in much the same relationship to the first Utting Report
(1991) as the Curtis Report (Care of Children Committee, 1946) did to
the first Clyde Report (Committee on Homeless Children, 1946). It is
based on going out and meeting children and young people and seeing the
conditions in which they were living rather than drawing solely on
second-hand experience.

Key points

  • Residential care should be considered a positive option, especially where chosen by older children.
  • It is difficult to provide residential care on a domestic scale.
  • Family care should be preferred for children under twelve.
  • Children and their parents should be involved in developing statements of function and purpose.
  • Relationships are central to development.
  • There are eight fundamental child care principles.
  • The use of residential care has declined but its cost has increased.
  • All children should have somewhere where they can keep their private possessions safe.
  • Care is preparation for adulthood, not for ‘independence’.
  • Children should be able to be confident in formal complaints
    procedures but should be able to have informal complaints addressed as
    effectively.
  • All children over twelve should be able to attend reviews.
  • Buildings and physical resources need to be improved.
  • Education and health care need to be much more integrated in meeting all a child’s needs.
  • Family links need to be actively encouraged.
  • Children need to be able to feel safe but there is no one way of preventing abuse.
  • There need to be improvements in salaries, conditions and the training of staff.
  • All staff should receive supervision.
  • Officers in Charge should hold delegated responsibility for everything concerned with the day-to-day running of the home.
  • Coherent planning of residential child care facilities is needed.
  • Residential homes need an appropriate form of quality assurance.
  • “Quality cannot be inspected in; it can only be developed from a
    commitment at all levels to the continuing importance of the service”

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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