Residential home for special needs' kids

A NEW residential home for children with complex needs such as autism could be set up in North Somerset so parents and social workers do not have to travel hundreds of miles to visit them. Members of the children and young people services policy and scrut

A NEW residential home for children with complex needs such as autism could be set up in North Somerset so parents and social workers do not have to travel hundreds of miles to visit them.Members of the children and young people services policy and scrutiny panel voted unanimously in favour of opening up a new residential unit in the county for six children with special needs.It would cost around £1million to buy and renovate a property and then £550,000 a year to run it.There are currently four children in North Somerset who require round-the-clock care but there are no special centres to care for them in the South West so they are sent to residential homes a long way from home at a cost of £660,000 a year.North Somerset councillor, Tom Leimdorfer, said: "At the moment the children are way away from any of their relatives and it's not right. Although these centres are very good it's not very easy to monitor what's happening on a day-to-day basis and how they are being cared for."The unit would certainly be good for the children and their families and also for the profession. If we develop expertise and have a lot of people who can deal with children who have challenging behaviour in the area it will also be beneficial in relation to children with not such high needs."The unit would cater for six children aged 10-18, four from North Somerset and two from other local authorities.A site for the residential unit has not been chosen but Cllr Leimdorfer said it would need to be near a town or village so the children can access schools and mix with the local community as well as enjoy secure grounds.If the proposal is given the go-ahead it could be up and running by the end of 2007. The council's executive is due to discuss the matter at its January meeting.


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