Wiltshire Council is taking an innovative approach to helping children and young people in care remain in Wiltshire by creating two new community-based children’s homes as part of a larger contract.
The new homes will help to provide places for up to 12 children and young people, helping them to stay in Wiltshire, and near to local schools, friends and support networks.
Wiltshire Council will fund 50% of the cost of purchasing and adapting the two homes, with 50% match funding secured from the Department for Education’s (DfE) £19.5m grant programme to buy or refurbish children’s residential homes to meet growing demand. The homes will be operated by a private or charitable care provider.
The DfE has recently announced it would provide Wiltshire Council with over £930,000 towards the cost of the homes and any refurbishment costs.
Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “While we always try to place children in care with foster carers, for various reasons this is not always possible. In these situations, a children’s home can provide a safe home where young people can feel secure and are close to their education, friends and communities.
“We are pleased to have received the DfE funding to help secure these homes in the county and we will now move forward with the next step in preparing to either bring children currently placed out of county back into Wiltshire or for new children requiring a children’s home environment to remain with Wiltshire. These are our young people and we want them to continue to be within their communities in Wiltshire.”
Claire Coutinho, The Minister for Children and Families, said: “Every child should have a stable and loving home with a good school, friends and community nearby. I’m over the moon that we’ve been able to help build two new children’s homes in Wiltshire to do just that for local children.
“I want to make sure that every child in England gets the same which is why we are committed to reforming the children’s social care system”