Cheshire East Council

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London borough finds interim placement for teenager after judicial criticism

Southwark Council has now said it has found an interim placement for a troubled teenager after criticism from a judge.

Its leader has blamed the delay in finding a placement on the Government for failing to provide suitable accommodation.

Hayden J last week ordered the council’s social services director to appear before him after Southwark was unable to find suitable accommodation for a teenager described as “troubled and dangerous”.

The court heard 14-year-old F was placed in care in June. He has severe behavioural problems and was found in a crack den after absconding from his care home.

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F has convictions for possessing knives and was expelled from the care home after becoming involved in a dispute with another resident, whom he threatened.

Southwark leader Peter John said: “I am saddened that we have been put in the extremely difficult situation of being unable to find a suitable placement for this young person, despite our greatest efforts to find somewhere that keeps him, and others, safe.

“This issue goes much wider than Southwark – how can it be right that as a country we cannot find a safe home for a very troubled 14 year old boy?

“The fact remains that the Government has failed in its responsibility to provide a placement for this vulnerable young person when we requested it.”

Cllr John said that an interim placement had been found, with the support of the judge, and Southwark would continue its efforts to find somewhere that can meet F’s needs.

He added: “I think it’s now time for the government to step up and develop a long-term plan so other councils, and children, aren’t left in this desperate situation again.”

Mark Smulian

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