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Published Wednesday, 12 January 2022
Councillors have approved plans to create a new home in the city for children who are looked after by the authority and have a disability.
Currently any child with a disability has to live outside Coventry because there is no appropriate home within the city boundary, following the closure of a privately run home.
There is a national shortage of homes for children with disabilities and councillors said there was a need to create something in the city to make sure children were given the best possible care and start in life.
At yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, they voted to refurbish a current vacant building in the city. Work will also begin to investigate the possibility of building a new home.
The project will cost £1m and the Council had applied for a Government grant, but when that was refused, the decision was made to fund the much-needed building through borrowing and Council reserves.
Councillors heard that the plans would mean looked after children with disabilities were given the best care and kept close to their homes.
The Council currently runs five children’s homes, all of which are judged as good by Ofsted. One of these is a short break home for four children with disabilities. This means that Coventry has experience of opening and running good quality children’s homes within the city.
Cllr Patricia Seaman, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “In Coventry we are determined that all children are given the very best start in life and we have an excellent team who help to look after those who come into our care.
“Recently we have become aware of the pressing need for a home in the city for children with disabilities. It is not right that they should have to move from their city and from the excellent care of Council staff and this decision will mean that children will not have to live at a great distance from their family.
“It is the right decision for the children and their families and it is the right decision for the city. Not only are we creating a home for the immediate future, but we are also exploring the option to build a brand new home and ensure that our children with additional needs and disabilities can get that help and support here in Coventry and that is excellent news.”
The decision has been made after consultation with young people, their families, partner agencies and organisations representing families who have children with disabilities.
There has been overwhelming feedback that there needs to be local provision for this group of children.
Some have had to move considerable distances to be placed in a home that meets their needs. This makes continued contact with their families difficult and can disrupt schooling and health provision.
This means children with complex needs are having to cope with significant changes in their lives.
All feedback has underlined the benefit of young people remaining in the city where their families can be better involved in the child’s care planning and local professionals work together to meet the child’s needs.
In addition, the new building will help care staff in the city, with savings in transportation and social worker time. It will be easier and quicker to visit children who are based in the city.