PLANS for two new children’s care homes have been put forward by a local authority in a bid to cut spending on “expensive” external placements.
Flintshire Council recently bought the empty Ty Nyth care home building in Mold, along with two adjoining semi-detached properties on Park Avenue.
It now wants to refurbish them to provide two in-house children’s care facilities as part of a joint venture with Wrexham Council.
Details of the proposals were first revealed by a senior official in May, who highlighted the rising price of placing children with independent care providers.
Neil Ayling, Flintshire’s chief officer for social services, said it often resulted in youngsters being placed outside the area at a cost of between £3,500 to £10,000 per week.
In a planning statement, architects acting on the council said: “Both the Ty Nyth building and adjoining pair of semi-detached properties were former supported living accommodation previously owned by Clwyd Alyn (Housing Association).
“Flintshire County Council have bought the properties, which have sat empty for approximately two years.
“Both buildings are currently boarded up and are becoming a cause of anti-social behaviour in their vacant state.
“The proposal seeks to significantly refurbish both buildings, adapting them to the needs of a children’s care facility while also significantly improving the building fabric and energy performance.”
The Ty Nyth building has been used as children’s home in the past, as well as to support adults with disabilities.
The plans would see the property refurbished and registered as a five-bedroom children’s home with three overnight staff.
Meanwhile, the two neighbouring buildings on Park Avenue would be renovated and merged into one to create a four-bedroom children’s home with two overnight workers.
In a report shared with councillors earlier this year, Mr Ayling said the development would include an assessment centre to provide short term care and therapeutic services.
He added: “As an authority we are reliant on the independent sector for children’s residential care provision.
“This has led to children being placed away from their communities at an increasing, and unsustainable, financial cost to the local authority.
“As a corporate parent this is not what we want for our children.”
Flintshire was previously awarded £500,000 by the Welsh Government to buy the Ty Nyth building, with the estimated cost of renovating it standing at up to £1.1m.
The architects said the project would be jointly funded by the two neighbouring councils.
A decision on the proposals is expected to be made at a later date.