Home   Kent   News   Article

Moves to block councils 'burdening' Kent with vulnerable children

CLLR CHRIS WELLS: "It is almost always best for children to stay within their own communities"
CLLR CHRIS WELLS: "It is almost always best for children to stay within their own communities"

COUNTY education chiefs have welcomed moves to stop councils from placing vulnerable young children in Kent to save money.

Kent County Council said government legislation aimed at preventing the practice would halve the number of children placed in the county by other social services departments and prevent the lives of children being disrupted.

Figures show Kent is looking after more children from other authorities than actually come from within the county.

In July 2006, the figures stood at 1,145 Kent children and 1,213 children from other local authorities.

Now Beverley Hughes, the minister for children, young people and families, says the law is to be changed to compel all social services authorities to keep children in care within their own areas unless there are specific welfare grounds for placing them elsewhere.

Cllr Chris Wells (Con), KCC cabinet member for children, families and educational standards, said: "This is good news for Kent and good news for children in care. The outcomes for children placed in care far from their home communities are usually worse than those for children in care generally.

"It is almost always best for children to stay within their own communities, attend the schools they already know and maintain links with their friends."

Ms Hughes visited Kent earlier this year to meet education chiefs and others to discuss the problem.

Graham Badman, KCC’s managing director children, families and education, who arranged the visit, said: "If this legislation is approved it will also halt the influx of children into Kent from other counties.

"Inevitably, this places a significant burden on public services in Kent. But it is vulnerable children that have borne the brunt of this policy, enduring unnecessary disruption to their lives of vulnerable children and potential shortfalls in their care and monitoring."

The practice has become common over recent years, with London boroughs often placing looked after children in places like Thanet as a way of saving money.

It is often cheaper to arrange care for children under 18 outside London because the costs of using foster carers and residential homes are relatively high.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More