Merton's foster children shipped out to other boroughs
Merton Council has been named as one of 16 local authorities to ship all of its children in need of residential care to homes outside of the borough.
As of March 2012, 130 children were in care under the responsibility of Merton Council, the majority in foster home some of which may have been in the borough, but not one of them in need of a home was placed within Merton.
Merton has no local authority-run children’s homes and just three privately run homes.
The figures have emerged after the Department for Education compiled statistics on local authorities in the wake the Rochdale sexual exploitation scandal.
The Rochdale case highlighted how children who were sent far from their familiar support networks of family and friends could be more vulnerable to grooming rings.
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: "The 2013 data shows where there is under-supply and over-supply of places in local areas; and how authorities vary in their use both of out-of-area placements, and placements far from a child’s home.
"These may be in the interests of the child; but they may also increase risk."
Merton Council defended the findings with 87 per cent of their looked after children were placed within 20 miles of their home, while an Ofsted inspection in 2012 and 2013 resulted in a "good" rating for the outcomes of the council's Looked After Children.
A spokesperson for Merton Council said: "Wherever possible we place them in their extended family, with foster carers rather than in residential settings.
"As of March we had 140 looked after children of which nine were in children’s homes or secure units and five were in other residential provision such as a special schools because of their very specific needs.
"We only place children in good or better homes and they are regularly visited by their social workers.
"Whilst we try to keep our children local, unless there are specific reasons such as a risk of their safety locally or a need for a specialist resource, in common with all London authorities this may mean within a couple of miles from their original home but in a neighbouring Local Authority."
- Environment agency warns of gales and flooding this weekend
- Man wanted in connection with cyclist assault
- Dangerous driver faces jail for killing PC Andy Duncan in hit-and-run
- Photographer wins national award for Heron shot
- Pregnant mother and toddler held at knife point in park
Comments are closed on this article.