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(UK) Children's Commissioner: Thousands of disabled children placed miles from home

Dec 24, 2019, Children and Young People Now: THOUSANDS OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN PLACED MILES FROM HOME, CHILDREN’S COMMISSIONER WARNS Thousands of looked-after children living more than 20 miles from home are being “passed around like parcels”, the Children’s Commissioner has warned. Some 41 per cent (11,352) of children in care are placed at least 20 miles away from home with 2,075 living 100 miles from home and 963 over 150 miles away, commissioner Anne Longfield warned in a report highlighting the trend of children in care being “moved out of area”. The number of children living out of their area has risen by 13 per cent since 2014, Longfield warns…. In most cases children are placed away from home because “there is nowhere suitable for them to live locally”, Longfield adds saying they are more likely to be placed in a children's home than children who stayed in their local area. … More than half of children (52 per cent) living out of their local area have special educational needs and a quarter (24 per cent) have social, emotional and mental health identified as their primary need, the report says…. The commissioner has called for an urgent Department for Education (DfE) review into residential care and more incentives to councils to find local homes for children in care. … “As the number of children in our care increases so too does our need for high quality placements, in the right places. The government has, at times, overlooked its own role in tackling the issues raised here. Placement sufficiency continues to be a key issue for virtually all councils across the country but there is no national strategy to recruit more foster carers, to increase capacity in children’s residential homes or to address geographic mismatch of placements. Other challenges include the fact that councils cannot direct an academy school to admit a child in care as they can a maintained school meaning it can take several weeks or even months to secure a steady school placement.”… “We know there are challenges in finding the right placements, and we’ve already pledged an extra £1.5bn [$2B US] for child and adult social services, as well as a review of the system so children receive the best possible care.”


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