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Autism unit to benefit Highland families and young people

14th November 2013

The development of a residential unit for children with autism at the new Inverness Royal Academy was endorsed today by members of The Highland Councilís Adult and Childrenís Services Committee subject to further consideration of revenue and capital implications and a full business case.

Councillor Alasdair Christie, Chairman of The Highland Councilís Adult and Childrenís Services Committee welcomed the decision to provide a residential unit supporting Highland families and young people with Autism. He said: ďThis move clearly demonstrates the councilís commitment to reducing the number of out of authority placements. This is the way forward to addressing the needs for better outcomes for our young people.Ē

He added: ďAlthough the overall number of looked after children in Highland has fallen in recent times, the number of specialist placements, including residencies at specialist units has not reduced accordingly. For that reason I welcome this development at Inverness Royal Academy which will make a massive difference to the Highland families and young people who need this support.Ē

Members were informed that the possibility of a small residential unit for children with autism on the site of the new Academy is currently being investigated. A suitable site has been identified at the edge of the school site close to the planned Additional Support Needs (ASN) base which would enable construction of a separate building to the school.

The residential unit is likely to accommodate four young people, and most probably teenagers, as council data demonstrates this is the age range of most children when they enter autism specific out of authority placements.

Development of the Autism Unit is estimated to be in excess of £800,000. A full business case for the proposed residential unit will be brought to a future meeting of The Highland Councilís Adult and Childrenís Services Committee.

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