I'm encouraged to hear that Laura Sandys, MP for South Thanet, has met with Tim Loughton, Minister for Children and Young Families, to discuss the placement of looked after children in Thanet by other local authorities and has learned that regulations restricting out-of-area placement will come into force in April 2011
Laura says: "I was extremely encouraged by the education department's commitment to ensure that London authorities, in particular, stop sending their looked after children to Thanet. We will be taking steps to compel these authorities to make adequate provision in their own locality for those children rather than locate them in Thanet."
And North Thanet`s MP, Roger Gale, adds:, "Across Thanet, the impact of out of area looked after children has, for far too many years, been considerable placing a huge burden on local education, health, and policing services. I very much hope that from April next year we will see a dramatic reduction in young people being "dumped" in Thanet so far from their extended families, friends and schools. As a result of the incoming guidelines, I believe that we will see a significant benefit quite quickly in the area."
This is particularly relevant at this time as several residents have raised concerns about proposals for a new children's home in Ramsgate that might well attract children from out of the area. On behalf of local people, Laura will be relaying to the children's home company and to KCC the Coalition Government's strong position on halting out of area placements.
Laura added: "It is not acceptable to place more vulnerable young people in Thanet from out of the area and we are determined to ensure that this proposal will not be successful. I raised this particular local case with the Minister and he was adamant that this sort of practice must be stopped. We will be writing to the company to ensure that they are very clear about the new regulations that will stop them taking children from London and placing them in the heart of Ramsgate."