A CHILDREN’S home is set to be opened in Warwickshire.
Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet has approved the decision to operate an Ofsted registered, residential children’s home for up to four children in care, in late autumn. It will be the first time that the county will have run such a facility since the 1980s.
The decision comes as the county council seeks to stabilise its position in an increasingly volatile external market. As more local authorities have sought to place some of their children in care in homes managed by external providers, placements have been harder to secure due to the added demand.
As well as increasing costs, this has meant that some children are placed at a significant distance from their homes – an average 50 miles for those in Warwickshire.
The move to reintroduce residential accommodation will complement and support the existing offer of fostering. Initially, the homes will have an intake of four children of 12-years and under with at least two adults on site at all times to mirror a typical family ratio, alongside a manager or deputy.
Benefits will include keeping children closer to their families, education and health and social care providers. It will also make quality assurance easier, with all aspects of the children’s support network being closer.
Coun Jeff Morgan, spokesman for Children’s Services, said: “The decision to open a residential children’s home reflects the council’s desire to keep as many of our vulnerable children in the county as we possibly can. Keeping these children close to their homes, families and all of the support services will be hugely beneficial to them. All evidence indicates that this produces better outcomes for them and of course it gives us, as corporate parents, a greater degree of control so that we can assure the quality of the care more easily.
“It does not mean that we are reducing our fostering service. The availability of local residential children’s homes will sit alongside that and offer us another option so that we can choose what is best for each individual child.
“We have already started the process of looking at other potential sites and engaging with local residents and stakeholders. One of the commitments we have made is that we will look at many different ways that residents of the homes can engage positively with the local community.
“There are savings that will be made but that is not the driver for the decision, rather another positive outcome.”