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Comment on data showing LA expenditure on residential care

Chris Munday, Chair of the Resources and Strategy Policy Committee, said:

“These latest figures are sadly unsurprising to local authorities. The financial pressures we are facing in relation to the cost of children’s homes is unlike anything we have experienced before, and they require urgent government intervention. However, this is about much more than the unmanageable costs of children’s homes placements at a time when a growing number of local authorities are effectively bankrupt, it is about a placements system that does not currently meet the needs of the children in our care, which are increasingly complex. The reduction of NHS tier 4 inpatient beds at a time when need is increasing is placing significant pressure on local authority budgets and it means children are not getting the support they need. Similarly, the shift away from a crime and justice response to criminal exploitation with a safeguarding response is absolutely the right thing to do, but the funding has not followed these children from justice to children’s social care.

“Local authorities can pay tens of thousands of pounds per week for places, yet providers can pick and choose which referrals to accept and at what price. There is a growing evidence base showing some large private providers are generating significant profits from vulnerable children and the public purse. We urgently need a comprehensive national placements strategy to ensure the right placements are available for children when and where they need them. Government must also act to initiate a move away from profiteering, towards a system that puts children’s needs first.”


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