Kent warns councils over placements Kent Council is urging the
government to put a surcharge on councils that place vulnerable
children in the county.
The local authority warned there would be “serious consequences” if
numbers were not cut.
A report released by Kent Child Protection Committee this week
condemns councils for using the county as a cheaper option and says
they must find alternative provision.
Figures show 56 per cent of looked-after children placed in Kent
are from outside the county.
Bill Anderson, east Kent area director, said the “logistics of
distance” meant social workers from placing councils could take
months to visit children.
But Ian Wilson, corporate director (social services) at Tower
Hamlets Council, which has five children placed in Kent, said: “We
all recognise the needs of the child are paramount. There is a
supply of high-quality, high-cost foster care in Kent which matches
the needs of children.
“In Tower Hamlets we recruited 40 foster care placements and lost
one last year. London boroughs are not complacent. Tower Hamlets is
the most overcrowded borough in Britain so we are recruiting in a
much more difficult environment, compared with Kent, which is
housing rich and income poor.”
Another social services director, who did not wish to be named,
said: “Kent has brought this on themselves by privatising its
fostering services. The overnight trebling of fees stimulated a
market in Kent. It would be a good idea if Kent focused on
resourcing its schools properly and working with London boroughs to
find a long-term solution.”