THE NUMBER of beds for young people in care in Shetland could receive a much needed boost if plans for a new children's home in Tingwall get the go ahead.
A home for five children, which would be run by Shetland Islands Council, is part of Hjaltland Housing Association's plans for the second phase of its development at Gaet-A-Gott.
In January a report was presented to the SIC's families and education committee which said the isles was "fundamentally short of capacity" for emergency and/or medium term care for young people.
The proposed children's home would sit alongside 16 new accommodation units in the housing estate, which would eventually feature 40 new homes built in phases.
While planning permission has been secured in full for the new residential units, consent has only been approved in principle for the children's home and the proposal is still in its infancy.
SIC's children's resources manager Scott Hunter said the home has been mooted partly due to a change in legislation which means people are able to stay in care until they are 21, thus potentially increasing demand for services.
"In Shetland we have very limited capacity, so we're thinking about the need for more provision now rather than in the future," he said.
Hunter stressed that the council has not yet committed to building the home and that the plans will need to be approved by the local authority first.
At the moment, Shetland has a total of seven residential beds for youngsters in Lerwick and in the south mainland.
In contrast, neighbouring Orkney has eight beds in total, despite having a smaller population.
Last year the SIC reopened Windybrae in Dunrossness to provide three beds, in addition to securing singleton placements in Lerwick.
The report published in January said these properties were financed through "contingency funds and internal efficiencies".