Doncaster children's homes abuse investigation to be headed by one of country's most senior social workers

The Government has appointed one of the country’s most prominent social workers to lead the review into allegations of abuse at two children’s homes in Doncaster.

Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 11:03 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 11:05 am
Dame Christine Lenehan will lead the investigation into abuse allegations
Dame Christine Lenehan will lead the investigation into abuse allegations

Dame Christine Lenehan, who is director of the Council for Disabled Children at the National Children’s Bureau, will be the lead investigator into reports coming from Fullerton House in Denaby Main and Wilsic Hall near Wadworth.

Doncaster Council has been told by central government they will ‘seek to help’ in their multi-million pound investigation which is reported going to cost £3 million.

Fullerton House and Wilsic Hall, had their registrations suspended in April 2021 after Ofsted inspectors found children at one of the homes were ‘at serious risk of harm’.

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Wilsic Hall children's home has been closed in the wake of abuse allegations

In a leaked letter to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, The Hesley Group, which runs the schools, later informed staff by letter that both homes would formally shut down following talks with Ofsted.

A source connected to the home stated that ‘investors had pulled funding’.

Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has previously said there will be ‘no time limit’ on the investigation which would ensure that young people are ‘properly heard’ but it is likely to conclude sometime in 2023.

The investigation involves the council police and other public sector partners.

Speaking to Children & Young People Now, Education Secretary Nadim Zahawi said it was ‘vital to learn from events at each school’ to safeguard children with disabilities and complex health needs in residential settings.

“I welcome the review’s comprehensive and expert focus,” he said. “The panel is in a unique position to bring together valuable expertise and experience from across multi-agency partnerships and to carry out a robust review.

“We will be able to use this learning to ensure the right improvements are made to practice and systems both locally and nationally.”