THE first children have started living in a specialist care home in the north of Powys, councillors have been told.

At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Health and Care scrutiny committee on Thursday, 11 April, councillors received an update on the project.

When planning permission was given to convert a house into a children’s residential care home in December 2021, it was welcomed by councillors who saw it as a way to make financial savings by bringing children with “very complex needs” back into Powys from costly placements outside the county.

Senior children’s service commissioning officer Jo Harris said the council were the “lead employer” and were working in partnership with Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) on the “design and delivery” of the provision.

Ms Harris said: “This is a long standing project and has been going on for several years now,

“Safe accommodation is residential accommodation intended to address the need of children displaying behaviour where they are at risk to themselves and others, and may have experienced significant trauma, substance misuse and they are likely to be in crisis.”

Ms Harris said: “The works are all now completed, and we received CIW (Care Inspectorate Wales) registration early in 2024.

“We have a full staff team; we have an admissions panel and very carefully match the young people to the property.”

The home is suitable for three young people, from the ages of 14 to 18.

Ms Harris said: “Two young people were matched to the property moved in just prior to Easter, who are reporting that they very much enjoy and are happy being there.”

Head of children’s social services, Sharon Powell stressed that due to the collaborative work with the health board this care home is “very different” to the council’s other residential care homes.

Committee chairwoman, Conservative Cllr Amanda Jenner said it was “good to hear” that the project had got to this stage.

“As it’s a small number of children do we feel that we need more of this (type of) provision,” asked Cllr Jenner.

Ms Powell said: “It’s a work in progress we need to test it out – does the home and therapeutic element work in practice for the children placed there.

“There’s a lot of things to consider.

“We will go through an evaluation process to see how effective this home is, is it meeting the needs and expectations of what it was set up.

“It’s unlikely we’d go down the route of having another property like this, but you can never say never.”

Committee vice-chairman, Cllr Gareth E Jones of the Independents for Powys group asked for more information on how the collaboration with PTHB works.

Ms Harris said: “The health board fund the health element in terms of the therapist and psychologist and the local authority fund the residential care needs of the young people they are Powys looked after children.”

Cllr Jenner thanked staff for the update.