“The CHA’s primary focus is to ensure that the public, independent and charity sectors are able to develop and grow to meet the sufficiency needs of local authorities and most importantly the needs of every child or young person in their care.”

The CHA announces key developments in leadership and priorities as membership grows

The Children’s Homes Association announces key developments in its leadership and priorities at “critical time for our society’s most vulnerable children and young people”.

The Children’s Homes Association today announces key developments in its leadership, following continued growth in its membership of residential childcare providers across the local authority, independent and charity sectors. The organisation says that these developments will strengthen The CHA’s child-centred approach and its ability to respond to significant current challenges in the residential childcare sector, with key priorities outlined for the year ahead.

Clair Davies MBE, who previously led Appletree Treatment Centre and specialises in therapeutic aspects of care, has been appointed Chair of The CHA’s Board, which is drawn from the CHA’s membership, and will now include a greater number of representatives from local authority, independent and charity run children’s homes who bring wide-ranging skills and expertise.

Dr Mark Kerr, a recognised expert in residential childcare, has been appointed Interim CEO with immediate effect following the previous CEO’s retirement. A passionate advocate for the residential childcare sector throughout his career, Mark’s PhD was one of the largest studies in recent years to investigate the factors influencing outcomes for children and young people in residential care. Mark will continue to work alongside Jennifer Robbins, The CHA’s Head of Policy and Strategy, who joined the team earlier this year following more than 5 years at The Department for Education.

Chair Clair Davies said of the developments, “I have spent the last thirty years working with and inspiring people who work with children, young people and families, and I am delighted to be supporting The CHA and its members to deliver on our child-centred vision for exemplary residential childcare. Further, at a time of unprecedented challenges for the residential childcare sector, Mark Kerr’s steadfast commitment to our child-centred values, expert knowledge and strong leadership will be vital in supporting the sector, our members and all stakeholders at this critical time for our society’s most vulnerable children and young people.”

Mark Kerr said, “I am a passionate advocate of the residential childcare sector and believe that The CHA, with its membership focused on collaboration, innovation and sector leadership, is the platform that will drive important change in our sector and improve young lives.”

The CHA’s key leadership developments come at a time of an acute sufficiency crisis in residential childcare and of changes to legislation that will increase pressure on the system. Mark Kerr commented, “The bare minimum requirement for effective residential childcare is that a child or young person can be placed in a setting that is able to meet their individual needs. As a society we are currently failing to meet this responsibility for a number of complex reasons, despite the outstanding and life-changing work being done by so many providers throughout the sector. The CHA’s primary focus is to ensure that the public, independent and charity sectors are able to develop and grow to meet the sufficiency needs of local authorities and most importantly the needs of every child or young person in their care.”

Following the recent Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, the government is considering wide-ranging policy changes which are said to include an intention to address the shortage of specialist placements for children and young people with complex needs. Head of Policy and Strategy, Jennifer Robbins, explained why The CHA will prioritise this issue, “Addressing the sufficiency challenges at the acute end of the care continuum, where we must provide the right specialised support for children and young people with the most devastating backgrounds and the most complex needs, is a priority for us all. Getting a grip of this part of our sector’s work and doing our best for these highly vulnerable children and young people will also help local authorities with the budget challenges they currently face. That’s why The CHA will continue to ensure that the lives of these most vulnerable children and young people are top of every agenda.”

Other key priorities for The CHA are to address underlying factors that are limiting the sector’s ability to respond to increasing demand and complexity of need. The CHA will be supporting sector responses to the workforce crisis and working with government to address planning permission barriers, alongside efforts to improve society’s understanding of residential childcare. Mark Kerr explained, “It seems that as a society we only have compassion for the most vulnerable children in society if we don’t have to live near them. This is sadly just one symptom of our society’s poor understanding of the role and reality of residential childcare, an issue that impacts on children and young people and the workforce who care for them in multiple ways. The CHA will be working hard to address this issue the year ahead.”


The Children’s Homes Association www.the-cha.org.uk  is the voice of providers of residential child care services and resources across England and Wales. We are a Not-for-Profit Limited Company. The Children’s Homes Association represents both large and small providers with membership drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors.  Some members have just one home whilst others have many homes across a wide geographic area. 


We provide knowledge, expert guidance, resources and day-to-day support to our members as we work together to deliver exemplary residential child care.We work directly with local and national government, regulators and allied public services, consulting on policy and changes within the sector. We ensure that the voices of our members are heard, through consultations, government responses and liaison with the media.
We actively develop partnerships, collaborations and professional communities to share best practice – for the benefit of our members, the sector and all those cared for within it. Our leadership and associates bring together vast expertise across the many aspects of providing and managing residential child care, with a fearlessly child-centred approach.  

OUR VISION: Exemplary residential child care. 
OUR MISSION: Drive excellence in residential child care through innovation, collaboration and sector leadership.


Please contact media@the-cha.org.uk in the first instance to direct your enquiries or if urgent, call or message 07974 081 549.