Members of the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet (Resources) Panel last night (Wednesday 23 February) gave the go ahead to a feasibility study into the creation of two new children's homes.
Each will provide specialist support for up to 2 children and young people who have experienced a significant amount of trauma.
At the same time, councillors have endorsed a new strategy to reduce the council reliance on out of city provision by 'spot purchasing', as and when required, more residential placements with local providers – enabling young people to be cared for closer to home.
It follows a review of children's residential care in Wolverhampton which sought to ensure the council is able to meet its statutory duty to provide sufficient residential places for children and young people in care.
Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "Over the last few years we have focused our efforts on working with children and families at the earliest opportunity, and this has led to a welcome reduction in the number of youngsters who need to come into our care.
“We must, however, ensure that we continue to offer suitable, sufficient and sustainable children’s residential provision in the city and so, over the next few months, we will develop proposals to create 2 new children's homes, supporting up to 4 of our most complex youngsters.
"At the same time, we will actively reduce our reliance on private, out of city provision by ensuring that local providers are our first choice as and when we need to make spot purchases for placements.
"This will mean that more children and young people are able to stay closer to home and benefit from their local support networks, and it will also mean that we can build stronger working relationships with our Wolverhampton providers and enjoy greater oversight of services."
The feasibility study will be completed in the next few months and, if approved, the new children's homes could be operational next year.