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Ten foreign children abandoned in Shrewsbury

By Jordan Reynolds | Shrewsbury | News | Published: | Last Updated:

Ten foreign children are being looked after by Shropshire Council after being abandoned in Shrewsbury.

A van is reported to have dropped the children off in the Battlefield area in May after they had travelled half way around the world.

Shropshire Council leader Peter Nutting has said the unforeseen situation has cost the council more than £1 million and is one of the reasons why the council needs to save an extra £5 million by the end of this financial year.

Councillor Nutting said: "A van pulled up in Battlefield in May, stopped and dropped 10 children in Shropshire.

"These children have travelled half way around the world, they've been in France for a few months, they were loaded into a van and they came to Shropshire.

"The police went and picked them up and rang social services at Shirehall.

"We are now the corporate parents of these 10 children.

"They don't speak English, we've had all sorts of issues dealing with them."

The overspend forecast by the end of this financial year in children's services alone is predicted to be £3.9 million.

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It comes as a report which was set to be discussed at the council's cabinet meeting on Wednesday, reveals a new ongoing budget pressure relating to unaccompanied asylum seeking children of more than £500,000.

Central Government funds a proportion of the costs of caring for the children through a weekly value based on the child's age.

Previously the council has managed to fund these costs within the grant funding available but due to what it says are "complex safeguarding needs" and "high flight risks" there has been a need to place some children in high cost placements that are not fully funded.

The report adds that the service is also facing a projected overspend of £1.378m on external residential and foster care placements.

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It states: "The service has experienced an increase in the breakdown of some fostering placements, meaning children are leaving placements with Shropshire foster carers to be placed in higher cost residential placements."

Eight children have moved from foster to residential placements resulting in an average increase in cost of £101,000 per placement and a total additional cost of £807,000.

Other predicted budget overspends include £1.1 million for the place and enterprise department, and £1 million for resources and support.

The report states that if action is taken, which could include a spending freeze, the overspend could be reduced to just over £400,000.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Reporter for the Shropshire Star covering Bridgnorth and the surrounding areas.

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