Saturday, 26 May 2007
CARE SERVICES DENY FOSTERING C
A YOUTH leader, sacked from hi
Dismissed Herrington Burn YMCA leader Chris Jones claims children who have lived with him at his home over the past 16 years were sent to him by social services in Sunderland, Durham and Darlington.But all three councils say they have never placed children with the Sunderland magistrate. Children have been placed with the YMCA but none of those should have been living one-to-one with Mr Jones in his home.Darlington Council is now investigating Mr Joness claims that at least one youngster from its social services system had lived with him for five months.At Sunderland, director of social services John Marsden said: "We have never placed a child with him personally. "We have used the YMCA for day activities and occasionally accommodation usually 16-plus-year-olds. "There may have been the occasional 15-year-old, when there has been a crisis with their parents, for the short-term."If he has taken children, not into the YMCA, but into his own home without our knowledge that is grossly inappropriate."One child who has lived with Mr Jones had been there under a private arrangement with his parents. Mr Marsden said his officers had been informed of this situation as required by law because the boy was under 16. But had not introduced the child to Mr Jones, as he claims and he did not know of any
other such arrangements.Mr Marsden said: "The parents made the placement. We had no reason to intervene."Mr Jones continues to claim the three councils have officially placed youngsters with him and youth and community leader at the YMCA, Paul Ramsay, has backed Mr Joness claims saying he has sat in on meetings when social workers have put children in Mr Joness care.At Durham County Council a spokesman said they may have placed youngsters with the YMCA but never Mr Jones individually.He said: "If anybody had been sent to a communal type establishment and we found they had been taken out of there and were spending time with individuals for any length of time then we would be most concerned. "If children subject to care orders to Durham CC have been staying with him at his house and he claims this and he is not a registered foster carer that is something we will be looking into."