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Race to find specialist care home site

Created on 05/11/2020 @ 07:00
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A race against time is on to find a suitable building that can be turned into a children’s care home for those with complex needs.

Powys County Council’s (PCC) Health and Care scrutiny committee was told grant funding for the project from the Welsh Government might need to be handed back if it’s not used by the end of the financial year.

The project is worth £525,000, with £300,000 coming from a Welsh Government grant. This came after receiving £225,000 from the Regional Partnership Board to buy a property.

Senior Manager, Children’s Social Services Commissioning, Jo Harris explained: “We don’t have this facility in Wales.

“This is where we would provide therapeutic support to these young people together with our health colleagues.”

Ms Harris added: “We’ve been able to secure this funding and we would be one of the first local authorities in Wales to provide this sort of provision, but the caveat with the money is that it must be spent by the end of this financial year.

“What we’re hoping to do is purchase a property, and develop that ready for April 1.”

Ms Harris hoped that the home could be opened in the summer of 2021.

But the ultimate decision to go ahead of the project will be taken in January.

Ms Harris added: “If we’re not confident of meeting the deadlines we will look to either develop a children’s home or alternatively return that money.”

She added that they were confident but needed to get the sign off, and to “proceed at pace”.

Committee Chairman, Cllr Gwilym Williams asked what size property were they looking for.

“Councillors may know of a property within their ward, which would help you identify one, said Cllr Williams.

Ms Harris said that ideally they needed a large property with six bedrooms which could care for three children.

A property with outbuildings would be “handy” as they could be used as classrooms.

“We are also looking internally in case a property Powys own would be appropriate for development, added Ms Harris.

Children’s Social Services portfolio holder, Cllr Rachel Powell, said that the project is part of a wider strategy of returning children to be cared, closer to home.

She added that to access the specialised and intense support that these children needed meant they lived outside of Powys.

“This is an exciting project,” said Cllr Powell.

At the end of August there were 255 children in care
Of these, 18 are in residential care placements outside of Powys.
Nine of these are young people with complex behavioural and emotional needs
The average cost of having one child in a therapeutic children;s home costs on average, £7,046 a week.
Complex needs are defined as mental ill health, learning disability and/or autism, risky, challenging or harmful behaviour, the child is a victim of abuse or neglect.



By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporting Service



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