Rotherham child abuse victims unsafe to return to town

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The majority of child abuse victims who have been moved out of Rotherham for their own safety will have to remain in care for the foreseeable future, a review has concluded.

Rotherham Council is facing a £4.2m overspend on its £43.2m young people’s budget this year - largely due to spending £3m more than expected on out-of-area residential care placements.

There are currently 36 children from the town in such placements, where youngsters are moved to care homes in different parts of the country, often to safeguard them from abusers.

An internal review has said it may be possible to move four of the children back to care placements within the borough - but also found many will have to stay away for the foreseeable future, with some kept in placements until adulthood.

A report that has gone to Coun Christine Beaumont, cabinet member for children and education services, said the situation means financial pressures will continue next year.

It said: “A review of placements to consider opportunities to move children back into local authority residential provision has identified a potential four young people who may be suitable for a move who are currently in high-cost placements.

“The review also considered how many children are likely to remain in their placements until adulthood and how much opportunity there is to reduce existing costs.

“It is clear from this review that there is a structural budget deficit i.e the service will start the beginning of the next financial year with a budget pressure as the majority of children currently in out-of-authority placements will remain so throughout the next financial year and costs will exceed allocated budget.”

Each out-of-area placement costs an average of over £3,300 per week. Currently, more than 400 children in Rotherham are classified as being ‘looked-after’, with 110 with independent foster carers and 163 in council-run foster placements.