Moray Council is putting plans in place to create two residential care homes for young people as part of a new housing development – and help cut their secure care costs.
Two semi-detached houses on the Linkwood Estate in Elgin may be used to accommodate up to six young people under round the clock adult supervision.
The proposal to use part of a new 20-unit affordable housing development came as a leaflet explaining the requirement was distributed to householders in the area. It comes 18 months after the Council revealed annual costs of providing secure care facilities for children had soared to over £5million each year.
A spokesman for the local authority said that the “vast majority” of affected children where being looked after “for their own care and protection”, adding: “Some will have experienced neglect or mental, physical or emotional abuse.
“These children tell us time and again they are treated differently because they are in care, that is why it is important that they are accommodated within the community to enable them to lead their lives with support from the adults around them.”
Currently Moray Council are responsible for the care of 30 children who are living in similar accommodation to that being proposed at Linkwood. In a December 2012 report to the Council’s policy and resources committee, it was revealed that annual costs of such care had risen to £5million – an increase from £2.7million five years earlier.
At that time 20 children where being cared for in supervised homes outwith Moray where no facility existed.
Council convener Stewart Cree said that it was an issue that had “bedevilled” Moray Council and a situation that had been further highlighted during consultations over the requirement to save £30million from the council budget.