Children even more vulnerable
VULNERABLE children have been sent to homes in a Margate street where 15 sex offenders live, according to Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale.
During a radio interview on Tuesday Sir Roger said children sent to Thanet from outside the area were living "cheek by jowl" with sex offenders residing in bail hostels in the same Margate street. He said Kent Police had given him the details.
Sir Roger said: "This has got to be an explosive mixture.
"The police know about it but there is a limit to what they can do. Social services know about it, but there is a limit to what they can do and very often they are not told when children are placed out of area by a London borough. That in itself is a disgrace."
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KCC cabinet member for children's services Jenny Whittle said Thanet had been targeted by firms running private care homes because it was cheaper than London.
She said: "Many of these children are deeply damaged and have suffered abuse and neglect in their childhoods, and placing them in high risk areas is totally unacceptable."
Mrs Whittle said KCC has secured a commitment from other councils to send alerts whenever they moved children in or out of the area.
Kent has 66 children's homes and 32 fostering providers.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, Sir Roger and Thanet South MP Laura Sandys said the recent well publicised sex-ring case in Rochdale had served as a wake-up.
They said: "We can no longer tolerate this Dickensian situation that allows vulnerable children to be relocated without any assessment of whether that environment is safe or suitable."
The two MPs have suggested policy changes to "prevent child sexual exploitation" that will be considered by a government working party group.
THANET council says its has risk-assessed the areas where vulnerable children live on the isle. Director of community services Madeline Homer said the council had formed a multi-agency team with Kent Police and KCC social services to identify and tackle the challenges of placing vulnerable people in Margate.
In a statement released on Wednesday, she said: "The team, who are now co-located in the same office, have worked incredibly hard to identify the key issues in this area.
"This work has included a risk-profile exercise, mapping out the location of vulnerable children and adults in order to understand the situation more clearly."
She said the council hoped working closely in this way would help to make some "marked improvements".