Children’s rights director challenges breaking up of out-of-authority placements

Nine out of 10 decisions to bring a child back from an out-of-authority placement are reversed following intervention from the office of the Children’s Rights Director, delegates at Community Care Live Children & Families were told today.

Children’s Rights Director Roger Morgan said that complaints from children about being brought back from successful placements for financial or policy reasons were now the “biggest source of the commission’s casework”.

He said that children were being told that their out-of-authority placements were being terminated because the local authority was “short of money or had had a change of policy”.

“Neither of these are valid reasons for pulling a child back from a placement,” Morgan said.  “The only valid reason is if the placement is not working out.”

Morgan said that complaints about this issue were now so common that he had developed a standard letter to send out to every director of children’s services implicated.

“Frighteningly, nine out of 10 of those cases get changed after they receive our letter.  But what about the children who don’t write?” Morgan asked.

Welcoming the green paper on children in care published earlier this week, Morgan said he would be looking to find out from children how much of it was actually delivered on and whether placements improved as a result.

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