£15m to place children outside of Northamptonshire

Financially struggling Northamptonshire County Council has spent more than £15 million since the start of April placing children in care homes in other parts of the country.

The authority reports that there are currently 116 looked-after children and young people in care homes outside of the county, while there are 155 children were being cared for in county placements. Reports highlight that the cost since the start of this financial year of paying for the out-of-county placements has been £15.4 million.

Having recently agreed a £65 million package of cuts, the council defended the ‘common’ practice of letting looked-after children to be placed outside of the county. However, the authority’s children's services department has been under extra pressure following a damning verdict by watchdog Ofsted which revealed that 267 children did not have an allocated social worker.

Danielle Stone, Labour county councillor, told the Local Democracy Reporter: "We have an army of social workers driving up and down motorways which reduces the amount of face to face time they have with the children. Because of the lack of places and capacity the market can call its own price and I think it is outrageous."