Children and families charity 4Children has welcomed the Government's pledge to do more to protect children in residential care homes from sexual abuse.

The number of care homes failing children is much higher than previously thought, Children's Minister Tim Loughton has said, following a series of tough inspections held in Rochdale. The minister has also vowed to get tough on failing social services departments after it was revealed that a number of residential care homes are on the same streets as bail hostels.

A current inquiry, led by the Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz, is expected to find that a far greater number of homes are failing than previously thought.

Commenting on the report, Anne Longfield, chief executive of 4Children, said: "We welcome urgent and decisive action to overcome the scandalous treatment of the most vulnerable young people as a response to the worrying findings of Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz's inquiry.

"Full and robust follow-through must now happen to change the culture of care. The most vulnerable children have not been given the protection they needed. Every local authority should view these changes as an opportunity to overhaul their system and take personal responsibility for every one of the children in their care.

"The care system must be opened up to scrutiny to make sure children get the consistent loving care they need. Innovation should play a central part in the care system's response. We suggest an online forum for children to easily and anonymously rate the support they have received in care - giving feedback along the lines of TripAdvisor or RateMyTeachers. Children need to feel that they have more power to ask for help."

Story posted by Robert Mair on 3 July 2012.