Today’s media review looks at children in foster care and school placements.
Looked after children
Today, Wednesday 29 November, The Times reported concerns about councils in London placing foster children in deprived areas outside the capital, suggesting that the practice could fuel drug trafficking.
The story is based on comments made by the head teacher of the Coastal Academies Trust in Kent, who is challenging the Education Secretary’s power to order schools to accept looked-after children from outside its area.
Local authorities must consider whether or not it is appropriate for foster children to be placed away from their areas. If this happens then the local authorities have a duty to ensure they receive a safe and suitable education.
The safety of children is our top priority. We are clear that Councils must provide consistency of care and cannot relocate vulnerable children far from their home when it is not in their best interests to do so.
We are funding a number of Innovation Programme pilots for residential care in areas where demand for residential places outstrips supply.
We are also setting up a Residential Care Leadership Board, so sector leaders and practitioners can work together to drive improvements in commissioning and address gaps in provision. This will help drive forward our plans to deliver the manifesto commitment on use of out-of-area placements.
Children and Families Minister Robert Goodwill said:
The safety of children is absolutely paramount and tackling child trafficking and gang violence is a priority. Local authorities have a statutory duty to consider the right placement for a child, which should take into account a number of factors, one of which is whether the area is the right place for them.