NI childrens homes to receive £8.5m overhaul

12 Jul 01
An £8.5m capital programme to build 22 new children's homes in Northern Ireland has been announced by the province's Health and Social Services Minister, Bairbre de Brún.

13 July 2001

This will increase the number of places available for children in care by 23%, to 409, by March 2003.

A further 70 places currently available will be replaced because they are below standard. It is also intended to improve the training, recruitment and retention of children's residential care workers, with the private and voluntary sectors brought in to help provide services. The annual revenue cost of the measures will be about £3m.

The decisions implement the recommendations of the first phase report from the Children Matter Task Force, established in response to the 1998 'Children Matter' review of residential child care in Northern Ireland.

This was highly critical of the quality of children's homes and the provision of other services, including fostering.

The task force said that its priorities were to address problems in children's homes of overcrowding, inappropriate placements, of children absconding and of them being involved in prostitution and drug abuse.

De Brún said: 'I am committed to improving the standard of residential child care services.'


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