June 18 2013 Latest news:
by Luke Jacobs
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
A lack of places has seen dozens of vulnerable children from Newham placed in homes in Kent.
A snapshot June figure of 62 youngsters deemed at risk had been sent to the county because there was nowhere in the borough.
Newham Council said it was working to reduce the number of looked-after children who are unable to stay at home.
A spokesman added: “The safety and wellbeing of children in Newham, and particularly children looked after by the local authority, is a primary concern for us.
“Wherever possible we will work closely with families, offering support to ensure any issues are resolved so the child can safely remain in the family home.”
The figures emerged after a report by the BBC’s Newsnight programme revealed Newham was one of several London boroughs to make placements to children’s homes in Kent.
Newham Council’s fostering service was rated good in the most recent Ofsted inspection. It praised improvements made in tracking children placed in foster homes and noted that an annual review takes into account children’s opinions on where they are placed.
The council spokesman said: “We have been actively recruiting local foster families to increase the number of children placed with foster families in Newham and more of our looked-after children than ever are placed with our own foster families.
“However, we do not yet have the capacity to place all children in local foster placements and some of our looked-after children have significant needs which require more specialist placements.
“Where we do not have a suitable local fostering option which can meet the child’s needs, we will place looked-after children in appropriate settings outside the borough.”