Quarter of foster children placed out of council area

New figures have revealed that more than a quarter of children in care in Wales were placed in new homes outside of their county.

As of 31 March 2016, approximately 1,500 of the 5,600 placements were made out of local authority areas, with Merthyr Tydfil council having the highest rate of looked-after children placed outside its area, sitting at 84 out of 141 children, and Swansea council the lowest rate at 24 out of 510.

The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has continuously warned that councils face an increasing demand for foster carers and are looking at a ‘difficult financial future’, but maintained that councils took their responsibility towards children in care and foster families ‘extremely seriously’.

Figures, released in May, led to the Fostering Network arguing that in excess of 400 foster families were needed in Wales in the next year to ensure children in need get a suitable home.

Action for Children has stated that there is a ‘lack of appropriate resources’ locally to help looked-after children, saying that, in some circumstances, ‘it is in the best interests of looked after children to be placed beyond the boundaries of their local council’, but usually it reflects ‘a lack of appropriate resources being available’.

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