Kids homes will be axed “to help improve services”

COUNCILLORS have rubber stamped a decision to close two children’s care homes in Swansea. Swansea Council’s ruling cabinet has agreed to shut down Ty Gwaun and Ty Cwm in Cockett, which are not fit for purpose.

The authority says that savings will be ploughed back into improving services to vulnerable young people.

Speaking at the meeting, council leader Chris Holley said that the decision had the support of the cross party Child and Family Services Overview and Scrutiny Board.

Ahead of yesterday’s cabinet meeting Nick Tregoning, cabinet member for social services, said that the closures were a crucial part of the improvements planned for child and family services. Swansea has a purpose-built residential children’s home at Blaenymaes.

Councillor Tregoning said: “Protecting vulnerable children is a top priority for Swansea Council. It is spending an extra £6.4million in the current financial year to improve child and family services.

“The independent Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales believe these two homes are no longer fit for purpose. The savings generated by their closure will help our improvement agenda.”

Councillor Tregoning added: “The money will be re-directed to help put in place a system which will mean social workers will be able to intervene appropriately to support families at risk of breaking-up. When it’s the right move to make and is done quickly it will mean that, over time, fewer children will need to come into the care system.

“I want to stress that there will always be residential care support for children and young people if that is what they need.”

Councillor Mark Child, chairman of the Council’s Child and Family Overview and Scrutiny Board, said: “The closures at Cockett are integral to the overall plans to improve services, however I want to see that the excellent staff are well deployed in future and that the young people who have lived in Cockett are able to retain the valuable relationships they built with staff.

“It is also vital the proposed alternatives to residential care are established as soon as possible to ensure there is no gap in provision.”