Care home stands by teenagers' holiday

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The Independent Online
A CHILDREN'S home which sent two teenage boys on holiday to Spain 24 hours before they were due to appear in court yesterday defended its decision.

The 14 and 15-year-olds had been due to appear in court on Wednesday to face allegations of stealing from cars, attempted theft, and going equipped to steal while in the home's care.

The move was criticised by the Conservative MP Dame Jill Knight, who said: 'A growing number of social service departments seem to be teaching children that if they do wrong they will be rewarded with treats. The public is getting heartily sick of this kind of thing.'

But Gordon Rozario, manager of the privately-run Beeches Community Home, in Ossett, near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, said the boys had been sent on the trip to the resort of Salou as a reward for good behaviour. It also helped create a 'family atmosphere' at the home.

He added that both the social services department and Wakefield magistrates' court had given approval 'well in advance' for the trip.

'The children concerned were included in the holiday scheme to ensure, so far as possible, that the family atmosphere, which we think it is so important to maintain with children from broken homes, was not interrupted or disturbed. Not all children at the Beeches are offenders.'

Leeds social services bosses also supported the week's holiday which is estimated to have cost pounds 250. Keith Murray, the social services director, said: 'The Beeches is no different from many other homes in Leeds or other districts. The home can determine whether to take young people to Butlin's, Scarborough, France or Spain, providing they keep within their budget.'

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