Bristol

St Christopher's special needs children's home in Bristol closes

St Christopher's Care Home, Westbury Park, Bristol Image copyright St Christopher's Care Home
Image caption The residential home cares for children and young adults with complex learning difficulties

A residential care home for children with special needs has suddenly closed amid allegations of child cruelty.

St Christopher's Children's Home cares for vulnerable children with complex needs and is run by Aurora Group.

Avon and Somerset Police confirmed it was investigating "allegations of child cruelty offences" relating to the centre in the north Bristol area.

Aurora Group said it was "deeply concerned" about the "serious allegations".

Ofsted has removed the Carisbrooke Lodge care home's registration while police investigate.

"We're working with our multi-agency partners to ensure that safeguarding measures are being put in place and Ofsted has been notified," police added, saying parents of children at the home had been contacted.

"Some members of staff have been suspended while our investigation continues," the police spokesman said.

'Difficult time'

In a statement, Aurora said it was "deeply concerned about the serious allegations against a small number of staff who were immediately suspended."

"They were reported to the authorities straight away in line with our safeguarding procedures," it added.

"We are now focused on doing all that we can to support the children, young people, their families and carers, and the many caring and dedicated staff who are affected during this very difficult time."

Aurora stressed the allegations specifically relate to the children's home and not an adjoining school also run by the company.

Executive director of People Services at Bristol City Council, Dr Jacqui Jensen, said: "Ofsted has taken enforcement action and issued the care home with a suspension notice.

"Allegations such as this are very concerning and therefore the welfare and needs of the children, young people and their families are our top priority."

She said the council was helping to review each child's care plans to make alternative arrangements.

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