Dorset Council’s Cabinet today approved plans to build a new residential care home, contact centre, activity space and residential accommodation for children and young people in the county.

Two sites in Weymouth are earmarked in the outline plans. One will be a purpose-built residential care home with a contact centre and activity space for children and young people who are being looked after by the local authority.

The second site, a 13-unit building will be refurbished to provide residential accommodation for young people who are leaving the care of the council and who will be able to live independently.

There is a lack of suitable accommodation and care provision in Dorset, something that needs to be addressed. Currently, much of the children’s residential care provision is out of county, costly and not good for our children and young people. The council is committed to making sure that all children and young people in Dorset have the best chance in life, with outcomes that are relevant to them.  We know that this is most likely to happen in a family setting, so we’re focusing on recruiting more foster carers across the county. However, we also know that many children who are looked after by the council have complex needs, which is why we’re investing in this support.

It will also put an end to all use of unregistered settings, meaning the highest level of standards can be maintained to look after children and young people in the county. The Government is introducing new legislation

There has been a lot of coverage nationally about unregistered and unregulated settings in recent weeks and Dorset is making sure it’s ahead of the curve to put a stop to this.

Cllr Andrew Parry, Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Early Help at Dorset Council said:

“I’m delighted that we are forging ahead on delivering on our commitment to children and young people in Dorset.

“Children and young people who end up in our care, through no fault of their own, should have absolutely the same access to education, employment and a family.

“We currently only have one children’s home in Dorset, which has a good Ofsted rating. This shows confidence in us to develop more provision in the county, meaning that children and young people can stay closer to home.”

Dorset is committed to providing high quality, local and stable support for children and young people.

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