Sunday, 13 March 2011

Lancashire County Council: Have they lost the plot?

Lancashire County Council is spending millions of pounds moving vulnerable children to other parts of the country even though it costs 15% less on average to place them in council-run homes, which currently face the threat of closure as part of massive spending cuts.

More than a quarter of the county’s 1,297 cared-for children are being looked after in other parts of the country or in privately-run children’s homes, sometimes hundreds of miles from their family and friends.

It costs on average £300 a week per child more to place children in homes in other parts of the country or in private homes compared to council-run facilities.

For some children it costs up to £1,500 a week - or £78,000 a year - more to put them in third party and out-of-county homes.

The figures, revealed using a number of Freedom of Information requests, come after the authority approved plans to close five of the county’s 15 council-run children’s homes as part of £179m three-year budget cuts.

The situation is not only costing taxpayers more money, but critics say placing children in other parts of the country is leaving the most vulnerable alienated and rootless.

Council chiefs say the move has been designed to “reduce costs and improve outcomes for children.”

It costs on average £1,999 a week to care for a child at a council-run home, compared to £2,322 a week in private and out of town placements, Freedom of Information figures found.

My comment: Which rather suggests that the Lancashire electorate should vote the idiots out of office asap.

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