|Cllr Paul Swaddle (centre)|
As a councillor, the most fundamental responsibility we have is as corporate parent to the children in our authority's care. I was very pleased to see this week the Government is bringing in measures to make it harder for councils to place looked-after children in care homes outside of their local area. This is important as when a child or young person is miles away it becomes increasingly more difficult to ensure their safety. There are of course exceptions.
A task and finish group has been put together to make urgent recommendations on criteria that local authorities should have to satisfy before making a placement outside their home borough. The Government will consult upon changes this autumn.
The group is also tasked with reporting on how councils should monitor the quality of care in homes in their own area and will help develop "risk maps" for areas where there are high concentrations of children's homes, to assess whether homes are located alongside hostels and other accommodation for adult offenders, or in areas where there is known to be a high level of prostitution.
These, amongst other measures, are being instigated following Sue Berelowitz, the deputy children's commissioner's, report into the horrendous Rochdale case where nine men were sentenced for grooming and abusing young girls.
Returning to Action for Children, Paul is taking part again in the annual IT industry sleep-out in October. If you too would like to sponsor him for this worthy cause please visit his Virgin Moneygiving page