To: Essex County Council
What: Stop sending children in care to live miles away from everything they know
Why this is important:
Children in care are already up against it, but Essex County Council is routinely sending them to live miles away from everything they know, making their lives harder. It’s happening all over the country, but Essex County Council is one of the worst offenders. It’s because they have failed to ensure there are enough places to accommodate them in the local area.
Councils should be making sure that the children in their care can stay in their local area if that is in their best interests - which, for the vast majority of kids, it is. But time and again, they are moved away.
Sending children far away from their schools, loved ones and support networks can put them at greater risk of criminal and sexual exploitation. It can disrupt their education, make them feel lonely, and take a toll on their emotional and mental wellbeing.
Essex County Council is failing in its legal duty to make sure they can keep children in the local area, if that is in the child’s best interests. Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is also failing to use his power to step in. Councils can - and must - do better.