Commenting on new statistics showing the rise in teenagers in unregulated supported accommodation, Wolverhampton North East MP Emma Reynolds said:

“It is hugely concerning that the number of teenagers in care are left in unregulated supported accommodation. The number of teenagers in 16+ supported or semi-supported accommodation has risen from 2,900 to 5,000 in the last 10 years.

“This support is not inspected or registered by Ofsted, and children placed in these homes often go missing. With the care provided so inconsistent, it is no real surprise that criminal gangs prey on the young people in these facilities. Wolverhampton and the West Midlands face a knife crime epidemic and, with the rise of county lines drug networks, we cannot let a young person being placed in care spiral into a life of crime.

“These are vulnerable teenagers living in unsupervised and unsupported homes, with no real checks and balances over the quality of support they are receiving. Regulation must be brought in to ensure these facilities meet the needs and protect our vulnerable young people.”