West Sussex County Council hopes to save around £57,000 by opening a new home for children in need of an emergency place to stay.
The home, which the council plans to open within the next three months, will be housed in a bungalow in the grounds of the Beechfield Secure Children’s Unit, in Effingham Road, Copthorne.
Despite its proximity to Beechfield, Ofsted rules directed the county council to register the new unit as a separate children’s home – bringing the number of such facilities operated by the council up to eight.
A report by the council’s children’s services and care, wellbeing and education teams highlighted the financial and personal benefits of opening the home.
Between April and November 2014, emergency care had to be found in homes around the county for 31 often disruptive 11-16-year-olds.
The report said having a unit already prepared would make life easier for the children while saving the council £100,000. With two additional staff due to be hired at a cost of £43,000, the scheme would see a saving of around £57,000.
Cllr Peter Evans, Cabinet member for children – start of life, said: “Often when emergency provision is required it is because a child is in crisis.
“Previously we would place this child in one of our existing homes but due to the nature of the problems the child may face this can have a disruptive impact on the home.
“As you would appreciate, a disruptive person moving into your own personal home would not be good and this is no different for the children we look after.
“Having an independent emergency bed will give us the flexibility to place children at short notice, to not be disruptive to our existing homes and prevent expensive placements in the private sector.”
The unit would initially have one bed, though a second could be added if required.