The Guardian is reporting that Worcestershire county council is to consider proposals to charge some parents for placing their children into the care of the social services.
Liz Eyre, the council's cabinet member for children's social care and safeguarding, told the newspaper the plans were part of the authority's strategy for looked after children, and the move would ensure the department was looking after "the right children, for the right reasons and in the right way to make sure they are safe and have better lifelong outcomes".
In a statement to the newspaper, she said: "Worcestershire county council's cabinet agreed to further work to consider a charging policy which would be part of this strategy. It would not be for all looked after children in all circumstances," she said. "Further work is needed to develop the details and options for charging and under what circumstances a parent might be charged. Any options considered will need to take account of parental circumstances and the needs of the child to ensure there are no barriers to children becoming looked after when this is required."
In a further report in the Worcester News, it was claimed that charging could act as a deterrent to parents who handed their children over to the authorities rather than exercise their own parental responsibilities to them.
It was claimed that the move would deliver better value for children and tax payers, and help the local council save money - it is reported to be under pressure to cut back by up to £70m by 2015.
What do you think? Do you think in some circumstances this is a reasonable measure?