Posted: Mon 21st Oct 2019

Updated: Mon 2nd Mar

£2.25 million social care budget black hole

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Monday, Oct 21st, 2019

The budgets in Conwy for spending on some of the county’s most vulnerable people are facing huge strain, according to a council report.
Social services in Conwy are set to have a £2.25m overspend for the 2019/20 financial year.
This is made up of £500,000 on older people’s services, £1,450,000 for looked after children, and £300,000 for vulnerable people.
Cllr Cheryl Carlisle, cabinet member for children and family social care, said: “This is a very distressing picture for our social care budget in Conwy, in
particular our looked after children.
“However, this just reflects the national trend throughout Wales, with the continuing rise in numbers and complexity of cases.
“We need a national solution to address this problem, with increased funding, and Wales-wide recruitment of specialist foster carers to local authorities.
“The initiative that Cllr Emery and I are taking to the Conwy opportunities board is to scope out the setting up of our own bespoke children’s homes in Conwy, to address this ever growing need in a child focused and cost effective way, which will build on the work of our proposed regional assessment and respite centre.
“I would also like to draw members’ attention to the ground breaking work
that is currently being done by our Conwy strengthening families
team, and all associated officers, who have worked tirelessly to keep
some 130 children out of the care system with their dedicated work.”
Looked after children are those who have been in the care of the local authority for more than 24 hours.
In Conwy, the majority of looked after children (60 children) are living with in-house foster carers.
The second most common placement is with independent fostering agency providers (49 children), while 34 children are cared for by relatives or family friends.
Councillors at today’s meeting of the finance committee were presented with a report on the overspend.
Cases were shown to members that highlighted the pressure the budget for looked after children was under.
One client cost the authority £274,000 for a year so they could be provided with accommodation, health care and education.
Cllr Louise Emery, the cabinet member responsible for adult and community social care, said: “The overspend is a legacy from the previous financial year coupled with current growth, with almost a million pounds shared across six clients.
“The cost of these intensive care packages could well have been higher if it wasn’t for the work done by the strengthening families team and other innovative preventative services.
“We need to go further. Cllr Carlisle and I have asked that the Conwy
opportunities board consider capital investment into residential homes
within county since there are potential opportunities with regards to
developing further looked after children facility in-house rather than
relying on independent providers who charge between £3,000 to £7,000 per
week.”

By Shane Brennan – Local Democracy Reporter



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