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Shock over £6.5m children's care bill in Dorset
DORSET council taxpayers are footing a bill of more than £6.5million to send children to residential care in other areas.
The 89 children have to be placed at specialist schools and residential centres which can cope with their needs.
Bournemouth council placed 26 children in care outside its boundaries in 2011-12 at a cost of £2.7million.
Dorset County Council made 44 such placements at a cost of £2.4m.
And the Borough of Poole placed 19 children at a cost of £1.45m.
The figures include children taken into care as well as those with disabilities or special needs. The children involved are in costly residential schools, specialist centres and children’s homes.
Stuart Riddle, service manager for resources at the county council, said there was limited scope for cutting the costs involved.
“At the end of the day troubled children or children who are disabled need skilled professional help. That’s what you’re having to pay for,” he said.
Kim Drake, service director for children’s social care at Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “In Bournemouth we make the decision to place out of borough only when this provision will best meet the individual needs of the child or young person.
“We always consider carefully the option of placing a young person away from the family and it is done when young people have particularly complex needs and require care within specialist facilities or when they need to be placed out of the local area as they may be at risk from, or present a risk to, their local community.”
A statement from Poole council said: “The majority of children in care have experienced abuse and neglect and childhood trauma and have a range of complex needs.
“In Poole, a high proportion of children in care (around 84 per cent) are placed with local foster carers but there are a small number who have highly complex needs which require specialist residential care provision.
“This includes children with complex health needs and disabilities and teenagers with challenging behaviours which present a risk of harm to themselves or others. “Typically specialist residential provision will provide high staff ratios, treatment programmes, therapeutic interventions and skilled health and teaching resources.”