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Out of area placements being made in the south east

Commenting on out of area placements, Rachel Dickinson, Vice President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, said:

“Ensuring we find stable placements that meet the needs of the children in our care is a big priority for our members but as Sir Martin Narey recognised in his review of residential care, the issue of out of area placements is not as straight forward as often suggested. Whilst it is desirable for children to remain close to their friends and wider family, there are times when it is necessary for placements to be made further afield because of the availability of specialist homes, for example, or for safety reasons. A whole host of factors are considered as part of this process, including the child’s needs, the support they require, availability, geography and cost. There are more children in care than ever, up 40% over the last decade, yet there is a national shortage of foster carers and a growing disconnect between the location of residential children’s homes and demand. Homes are increasingly opening in areas where housing is cheaper, in parts of the south east, the midlands and north west, which is contributing to this complex picture.

“Identifying vulnerable young people at risk of harm, disrupting sexual or criminal exploitation activities and pursing prosecutions requires the full commitment and support of all statutory partners including local authorities, the police, health services, schools and the wider community, particularly where a child is new to the area. Sadly, these issues are not limited to a particular geography, they are national problems and should be recognised as such. We need to work to together with all safeguarding partners to find different ways of preventing harm from occurring. The government has a role to play too in addressing the weaknesses in our systems, particularly around notifications and information sharing, and in helping us to address the social, cultural and moral issues that allow unscrupulous adults to take advantage of children and their vulnerabilities.”


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