£6.2 million overspend on child social care budget in Dorset

£6.2 million overspend on child social care budget in Dorset

Published by Maria Greenwood at 11:31am 12th September 2019.

The former Dorset County Council spent more than £6.2M over its budget for child social care last year, figures reveal.

The Local Government Association is warning that funding is failing to keep up with huge increases in demand, putting vulnerable children and young people at risk.

What was Dorset County Council had £66 million allocated in its 2018-19 budget for Children's Services - but figures show the council spent £72.3 million.

child drawing

'Could a new children's home reduce the bill?'

The biggest portion of the bill comes from children who are looked after by the council, especially when they're placed outside of Dorset.

Councillor Andrew Parry is the cabinet member for Education, Children and Early Help. He said: 

"Any child in care will come with a level of cost to the local authority, and we must protect the most vulnerable in our society we all accept that.

"We are also acutely aware that placing children with the independent sector for care, or in particular, out of county care comes with a considerable premium."

child online

Cabinet members approved plans for a new 'modern, fit for purpose' children's home to bring children housed out of the county back within 12 months. 

It's estimated it could save the council £600,000 per year.

Related Articles:

Dorset Council plans new children's care home

Councillor Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA's children and young people board, said:

"Councils want to make sure that children can get the best, rather than just get by.

"That means investing in the right services to reach them at the right time, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to do that."

The Department for Education said it was putting an extra £410 million into social care this year, and £84 million over the following five years.

A DfE spokesperson said:

"We want every child to have the best start in life, with the opportunities and the stability to fulfill their potential.

"It is essential that we all strive to achieve the highest standard of services for our most vulnerable children."