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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Residential care overhaul sought
Child in woods
Many children have to be sent to units outwith the region
Council leaders in Dumfries and Galloway have called for action to tackle the lack of residential care places for children in the region.

There are only two units in the region providing a total of seven beds.

The lack of provision has seen children placed in unsuitable accommodation and others housed outwith the region at a cost of more than 3m a year.

The head of the council's children's services committee said the situation was totally unacceptable.

We put a number of children outwith the region and it spirals out of control the money that we spend
Cllr Wilma Patterson

"If a child has been to the children's panel and they need a placement they go where there is a bed available on that day," said Cllr Wilma Patterson.

"We don't have the chance to look around and find always the most suitable place."

Cllr Patterson said that it often meant sending young people outside Dumfries and Galloway.

"We put a number of children outwith the region and it spirals out of control the money that we spend," she said.

"We need to find a solution within our area."

A report to councillors has recommended replacing both of its current units within the next five years.

However, no alternative facilities have yet been identified.

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