Being placed into care miles away from his family was upsetting and isolating, a care leaver has said.

Desmond Barrett, 21, grew up with his grandparents in Cornwall until they split up when he was aged 10 and social workers decided he should live with relatives in Cardiff.

After struggling to settle he was moved to a children’s home in Llanelli aged 16.

He said being placed so far away from his family was difficult and social services should do more to place people closer to home.

His comments come as the latest figures show Welsh councils’ overall spend on looked-after children trebled from £76m in 2001-02 to £256m this year – largely due to increased demand, complex care needs and out-of-area placements.

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