Liverpool to invest in residential care for children

Liverpool City Council is planning to invest £1m to improve residential care for the city’s looked after children.

At this week’s cabinet meeting (Friday, 19 July), councillors will discuss the proposal to open two council-run children’s homes that will enable vulnerable children to continue to live in their home city.

Over recent years, the number of children and young people who need to live in a residential setting has increased. Since 2017, there has been a year-on-year increase of 32 per cent of children who need residential care, with the city currently responsible for 137 children.

Due to these pressures, the council often has to place children in homes outside of Liverpool, where the council also faces competition from other local authorities for suitable placements with external providers.

The council plans to buy two three-bedroomed properties which will be adapted and refurbished to become home for up to six children. Funding will be secured from the Public Works Loan Board.

With more children being able to live in the city, it is expected that money will be saved on expensive out-of-city placements which also require travel by Liverpool City Council social workers to visit the children.

The city’s commitment to developing its own children’s homes is set out in the Looked After Children Sufficiency Strategy, which was approved by cabinet in January.

Cllr Barry Kushner, cabinet member for children’s services said: “We are re-opening council children’s homes, because we don’t have enough residential care places in Liverpool. Liverpool’s homes are mainly run by private providers over whom we have little influence and we find that usually 50 per cent of the places in the city go to children from outside.

“This means that we reluctantly place Liverpool children outside the city, which is not good for them or their families. Children tell us they want to stay in or close to Liverpool so they can maintain the important relationships that they have with family and friends, and also the relationships that they have with the professionals who work with them.

“Directly providing services as a council means we can improve the outcomes for children, create good quality social care jobs in the city, and have value for money.

“The fees that we are being charged by private providers are increasing year on year, and are well above inflation, and our social workers and our contract monitoring team have to make regular, often lengthy, visits to the children.

“Developing these two residential homes will help us in our ambitions to keep as many of our children as possible living and being educated in the city and to support them to have a stable, safe and happy childhood.”

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