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Plans to invest in complex care for children approved

More than £2.3 million will be invested in supporting children the council cares for to stay in the borough.

Child and adult holding hand

Article date: 27 April 2023

Cabinet approved plans that will see the council aim to create five further children's residential homes. The council is looking to outsource the running of some of these homes so they are operationally managed by an external care provider. Under current legislation the council has to provide, wherever practicable, accommodation in the borough for children it cares for. With 477 children in the council's care the council has become reliant on out of borough provision.

It will support the demand for placements, children living locally will face less disruption by being able to keep up connections with friends, family and in many cases stay at their current school rather than potentially face being placed out of the borough and the huge upheaval this brings to children at a critical time where support is key.

External providers of children's homes are able to charge more for placements, and can refuse more complex cases, making finding homes for children with complex needs more difficult.

The council is looking to a model of homes where there is only one or two children there so that these complex needs can be met, rather than the older model of residential homes where a number of children live.

Councillor Nova Charlton, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "This investment brings many benefits that will make a significant difference for children and young people most in need of our support. The efforts of our team to find placements for young people is colossal, with them relying on expensive private companies to place young people, sometimes with complex needs, out of our borough, impacting their mental wellbeing. Having more of our own provision, which will all go through the planning process to meet the standards expected of such residential offer, will help us have greater control over our placements.

"The focus on this investment is to make a difference to young people's lives and give them the support needed to maintain relationships that matter to them. It will also deliver savings as we reduce the need to rely on the costly expense of private residential care. This will compliment our work to encourage more people to also come forward and work with us as foster carers, supporting those who open their homes to provide a stable home for children when they need it most."

If you want to find out more about fostering visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/fostering or call 01744 411447.

Cabinet approved plans that will see the council aim to create five further children's residential homes. The council is looking to outsource the running of some of these homes so they are operationally managed by an external care provider. Under current legislation the council has to provide, wherever practicable, accommodation in the borough for children it cares for. With 477 children in the council's care the council has become reliant on out of borough provision.

It will support the demand for placements, children living locally will face less disruption by being able to keep up connections with friends, family and in many cases stay at their current school rather than potentially face being placed out of the borough and the huge upheaval this brings to children at a critical time where support is key.

External providers of children's homes are able to charge more for placements, and can refuse more complex cases, making finding homes for children with complex needs more difficult.

The council is looking to a model of homes where there is only one or two children there so that these complex needs can be met, rather than the older model of residential homes where a number of children live.

Councillor Nova Charlton, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "This investment brings many benefits that will make a significant difference for children and young people most in need of our support. The efforts of our team to find placements for young people is colossal, with them relying on expensive private companies to place young people, sometimes with complex needs, out of our borough, impacting their mental wellbeing. Having more of our own provision, which will all go through the planning process to meet the standards expected of such residential offer, will help us have greater control over our placements.

"The focus on this investment is to make a difference to young people's lives and give them the support needed to maintain relationships that matter to them. It will also deliver savings as we reduce the need to rely on the costly expense of private residential care. This will compliment our work to encourage more people to also come forward and work with us as foster carers, supporting those who open their homes to provide a stable home for children when they need it most."

If you want to find out more about fostering visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/fostering or call 01744 411447.