Wales

Children in care targets irresponsible, Anglesey councillors say

Posed photograph of a child holding hands with an adult Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ministers are concerned that the number of children in care has gone up by a third over 15 years

Anglesey council has rejected a Welsh Government call to set targets to cut the number of children taken into care.

Deputy Social Services Minister Julie Morgan said a 34% rise over the last 15 years across Wales could not continue.

Councillors denounced the idea as "irresponsible", saying children in need could not be turned away.

The Welsh Government said it wanted to "rebalance the system" towards better prevention and earlier intervention to keep more children with their families.

Figures from March last year show there were just over 6,400 looked-after children in Wales - an 8% increase on the previous year.

Ms Morgan said the Welsh Government wanted councils to set soft targets to reduce the number, although they would not face penalties for falling short.

"We just cannot let this go on and we can't let it go on for the sake for the children," she told the assembly last week.

But councillors on Anglesey denounced the idea of targets at a scrutiny meeting on Monday, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

'Disbelief'

The authority's Plaid Cymru leader Llinos Medi said: "Four or five years ago we had 70 children on the looked after register and now have approximately 160.

"But I am happier now knowing we are looking after children as we should be."

Councillor Alun Roberts said he was in "disbelief" when he heard about the targets.

"These are vulnerable individuals," he said.

"Setting figures on such a service is irresponsible."

Bryan Owen, who leads the opposition Annibynnwyr Môn group, said the Welsh Government should talk to the council about the positive steps it had been taking already.

"We have developed three homes to help bring some of our looked after children closer to home," he said.

"Who knows how many children will be in need of help tomorrow - we can't turn them away."

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