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18 December 2012
Responding to the Criminal Justice Joint Inspection report on looked-after children and youth offending, Councillor John Merry, Vice-Chair of the LGA's Children and Young People Board, said:
"The paramount concern for councils is the welfare of local children and, as corporate parents we are determined to take responsibility to improve the parts of the care system within our control.
"While nearly half of all children in residential homes are placed outside their home area, there may be very good reasons for doing so. This could be for their own safety, to break gang affiliation or to access specialist services.
"What is clear is that where children are placed out of area there needs to be better communication between all the agencies involved to make sure they receive the care and support they need.
"We also need to address the historic problem of the clustering of lots of children's homes in a small number of areas. If we want to help make sure these youngsters can be placed closer to home, where that is the right thing for them, councils, with their knowledge and understanding of local areas, should have much greater control over where private care homes are set up.
"The LGA is working with the Government and others on the reform of children's homes to address these problems and to help make sure the system is the best it can be for the children who depend upon it."