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PEMBROKESHIRE needs more foster carers to look after local children rather than them being sent out of county – and children from away being brought here – councillors heard.

Cllr Viv Stoddart said that the practice was “almost a trade” when it was highlighted at Thursday’s audit committee (April 4).

Jean Davies, policy planning and change manager, told members that foster carers signed up to independent companies were paid more than council employed foster carers,  and then look after children from outside Pembrokeshire.

She added that it “reduces our pool of foster carers and then we have to send children out of county and that costs more” as well as impacting on the children themselves.

“If foster carers are paid more to have children from outside Pembrokeshire, foster carers elsewhere are being paid more to have Pembrokeshire children,” added Cllr Stoddart.

The cost of out of county placements was described as “extreme” by Cllr Jacob Williams during a discussion of the latest risk register figures for social services.

The committee was told that there were plans for a possible marketing campaign as well as other options for improving foster carer involvement along with providing some services only available elsewhere at the moment.

The service faced other “pressure points” with the highest risk being an inability for service providers to deliver the required services, as well as support packages not meeting user need and an increase in demand.

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