Some of Britain’s most vulnerable children are being moved to care homes more than 300 miles away from the neighbourhoods they grew up in, according to an Observer investigation revealing a “national scandal”.
The shocking figures make clear for the first time the scale of the crisis that has long worried child welfare experts. They show dozens of children from London alone are in foster or care homes more than 250 miles from the city, as councils battle a significant shortfall in provision. Children from the capital have been placed in homes near Perth, Glasgow, Knowsley, Leeds and Carlisle.
Care experts said that the pattern is being repeated across the country, removing children from critical support networks and familiar surroundings.
About 600 children from London are in foster or residential care more than 50 miles from their home neighbourhoods. Councils have warned they often have to compete for limited places, and face “rising costs and profiteering on the backs of vulnerable children”.
Some children need to be placed in certain locations for their own safety. However, there is widespread acceptance that the care system is failing to provide enough appropriate places in the right areas. Experts warn that relocating children removed them from schools, friends and extended family, as well as clubs and activities that were often key to their wellbeing. They warned it also put some at greater risk of exploitation.News