Bradford Council 'already tackling Minister's children's care home concerns' (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Council 'already tackling Minister's children's care home concerns'
Bradford’s head of Children’s Services has joined Education Secretary Michael Gove in calling for greater openness on the placing of vulnerable youngsters in care homes.
Mr Gove has said red tape currently blocks police from gaining information on such children who may be at risk from street grooming gangs.
A report yesterday revealed councils spend an average of £4,000 a week to place a child in accommodation with many sent away from their home area.
The Minister said a third of those were placed more than 20 miles away and branded the practice of sending children far from their familiar territory as “indefensible”.
However he pointed out that Bradford was already a national leader in such matters.
“The Local Government Association uses Bradford as a model which is studied by other authorities around the country and we are sending fewer children out of the area than in most of the country.
“And that is an all-party commitment to high quality residential care to keep those children in a safe and secure environments in the district whenever it is safe to do so.”
Mr Berry said Bradford’s problem with street grooming had involved the occasional child, not groups of “looked after” children.
He said one of the strengths was a chain of new Council children’s homes “We invested in building our own children homes which have been judged as good or outstanding by Ofsted,” he said.
“And financially that investment has repaid itself time and time again. I go to these places and I talk to the children and I’d welcome a ministerial visit to them any time.
“One issue that we do need to tackle is the question of private children’s homes being used in our area by other local authorities of which we may be unaware,” he said.
“However I do believe the Local Government Association is looking into this.”
The latest figures for “looked-after” children in Bradford put the total number in residential care at 103 with 25 of those moved out of district.
The average cost of each of those children in “purchased care” is £2,200 per child a week while the cost of “in-house” Council-run care in Bradford is £1,800 per child per week.