Issue - meetings

Children's Residential Provision

Meeting: 03/09/2019 - Dorset Council - Cabinet (Item 43)

43 Children's Residential Provision pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To consider a report of the Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Help.

Decision:

Decision

 

(i)         That the Executive Director for People (Children) takes action, as outlined in the report to Cabinet of 3 September 2019, to increase the sufficiency of residential care for children in Dorset.

 

(ii)        Once options have been identified, the lead cabinet member for Children, Education and Early Help, in consultation with cabinet colleagues and corporate parenting board, be delegated powers to approve preferred sites.

 

(iii)       That consultation takes place with local residents and stakeholders about preferred sites.

 

Reason for Decision

 

For Dorset Council to make the best use of resources and securing the best outcomes, for children in care who require residential care.

 

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Children Services reported that Dorset Council had high numbers of children in care, and faced a considerable overspend as a result.  For children who were placed in residential care, there was a higher risk that they ended up in a placement distant from Dorset.  This was because in Dorset there was a lack of appropriate children’s homes to accommodate those who required this provision and Council had not attracted external providers in invest in Dorset or set up provision in the locality.

 

It was important that, where possible, children were placed with family members and when this was not appropriate children preferred to remain in a local setting.

 

The committee was further advised that during the last five years, the use of residential placement nationally had increased by over 8%.  Within this increase there had been a reduction of children placed within the local authority boundary and in local authority run children’s homes.  There was also a substantial increase in children placed in nearby or distant placements run by “for profit” organisations.   In the current financial year, a spend of £11,158,142 was forecast for residential care and secure accommodation.  With the average annual cost per head of £242,575.  At the time of the report being produced there were 178 children placed in external placements with 60% being placed with other authorities which bordered Dorset. 

 

It was likely that there would continue to be a need for residential homes in Dorset and if Dorset Council was able to reduce its looked after children population to the target level of 395, there would still be a need for 30-40 places in children’s homes required.  

 

Members agreed that achieving this level would require a staged approach, be dependant on a reduction of total numbers in care and an increase in the number, range and quality of foster carers.

 

Members acknowledged that current arrangements should be improved to ensure that young people in the care of Dorset Council had the best possible start and the right outcomes. The proposal would also offer cost benefits for the Council.  A reduction of the number of children looked after outside of the Dorset area would also reduce travel requirements and ensure that more Dorset Council expenditure was circulated in the local economy.

 

Decision

 

(i)         That the Executive Director for People (Children) takes action, as outlined in the report to Cabinet of 3 September 2019, to increase the sufficiency of residential care for children in Dorset.

 

(ii)        Once options have been identified, the lead cabinet member for Children, Education and Early Help, in consultation with cabinet colleagues and corporate parenting board, be delegated powers to approve preferred sites.

 

(iii)       That consultation takes place with local residents and stakeholders about preferred sites.

 

Reason for Decision

 

For Dorset Council to make the best use of resources and securing the best outcomes, for children in care who require residential care.