Less than two months before the Home Office plans to publish reforms of the way unaccompanied asylum seeking children are cared for, it has not considered funding for those aged over-18, it emerged at Community Care Live Children and Families today.
Adrian Matthews, project manager of the Refugee and Asylum Seekers Children’s project, said the government had not yet revealed details about what money would be available to local authorities.
“The Home Office will have to include details in its reform programme otherwise it will face huge resistance from local authorities, which will be forced to foot the bill.”
Apparently, the Department for Education and Skills provides £13 million for councils for this age group.
Matthews added that the reform programme, which should be published in December, had huge potential to discriminate in areas such as education.
“Social workers will be encouraged to see these children as not having a future in the UK and that could mean that those who are very able academically are discouraged from embarking on certain types of courses if its felt they might not be able to complete them.
He added that there was concern over the huge numbers of unaccompanied minors whose age was disputed and whose cases had not been resolved in over a year.
“We have a real concern that in 2004, there were 1,850 age disputed cases and they were still not resolved by the following June. That’s a lot of people sloshing about in the system.”