Building work has started on a new centre for children at risk of coming into the care system in Oxfordshire.
A member of the Children in Care Council joined Councillor Nick Carter and others on Friday, May 29, to dig the first bit of earth ahead of construction work.
For children at risk
The centre will help more of the county’s vulnerable young people stay closer to home. It will also save money, as children will not need to go to expensive out-of-county homes. It will also provide a better quality placement, in a quiet location, with plenty of outdoor space The centre will house children (12 to 17-year-olds) on the ‘edge’ of the care system. They will stay there while staff find out if children can return home or need a placement. The centre will become operational next year.
About the Children in Care Council
The Children in Care Council is an advisory group which helps to inform the council about the services it provides to ensure the voices of young people are heard. It is made up of children and young people either currently in care or who have been through the care system. The views of the CiCC have helped inform the design process of for the new building.
Keeping children safe
The council Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Families Melinda Tilley said: "We all have a responsibility to help keep children safe, especially vulnerable young people who have often experienced traumatic childhoods."
Cabinet Member for Business and Customer Services Nick Carter added: “The assessment centre will not only help keep vulnerable children safe but also reduce the need to send children to out-of-county placements many miles away from friends and family."
Improved experience for young people
Work will start later this year on another centre in Eynsham, and two ‘Move-on’ homes in Didcot and Witney for older teenagers preparing to leave care.
Taken as a whole, the four homes will help the council develop and improve the experience for young people in care - from the moment they enter, to the moment they leave.