GROWING numbers of children are going into care in the Vale of Glamorgan in what’s been described as a “very disappointing outcome” for many families.

New figures have revealed that 276 looked-after children were in the council’s care in February 2019 – a 50 per cent jump from 183 children at the same time in February 2016.

A full council meeting on February 27 heard how the authority is paying more than £470,000 to keep just one looked-after child in secure accommodation.

It was revealed last year that the council was paying £471,380 per year to keep just one 14-year-old boy in a secure unit after a pattern of “complex and challenging behaviour”.

Councillor Kevin Mahoney raised concerns about this cost – describing it as a “scandal” at a Vale meeting of full council on Wednesday, February 27

He said: “We have had no proposals put forward by any of the officers on how we can address this.

“£470,000 for one child in secure accommodation. That’s not far off a 1 per cent council tax increase for the entire county.”

Council leader John Thomas said the spend on one child’s care was decided by the courts and was out of the council’s hands – and it was unfair to blame council officers.

He said: “It’s in the hands of the courts where they place children. If we have not got the facilities at home we have to pay for it.”

The council’s budget for placements for looked-after children is expected to overspend by £500,000 this year as demand continues to grow.

A council report says: “This is due to the increasing complexities of the children currently being supported, which results in their placement in very high cost units. ”

Plaid opposition leader, Councillor Ian Johnson said: “It’s a very disappointing outcome for so many families.”

He asked if the council had approached the Welsh Government for more funding for looked-after children in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Vale council cabinet member for social care, health and leisure, Cllr Gordon Kemp said: “There’s constant requests particularly through the WLGA on to Welsh Government for additional funding.

“The situation is difficult, I accept that. It needs to be borne in mind that the numbers do fluctuate over time.

“We need to look more at the situation of these children and the measures the council takes to keep the numbers as low as possible.”