Reform is to address “inadequacies” in services for unaccompanied asylum seeking children, a senior Home Office civil servant told a Community Care conference today.
A consultation paper will be published this month, said Brian Kinney, newly-appointed director of the unaccompanied asylum seeking children’s reform team.
A “minimum level of standards” for this client group is required, which the government will fund, he said.
There are currently no national agreements for providing support and care for unaccompanied asylum seeking children and service provision is inconsistent, he added.
Kinney criticised a “lack of alignment” between the immigration and care systems
He also said there are financial “disincentives” for local authorities to take asylum seeking children, which reform will examine. In future children will be placed with fewer local authorities and only ones where “expert infrastructure” exists, he explained.
Pilots to improve age assessments of minors are one of the new proposals.
The reform process will take “at least” 18 months, predicted Kinney.