Forthcoming proposals on services for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children may go “completely against” the looked-after children green paper, it was alleged this week.
Lisa Nandy, policy adviser for young refugees at The Children’s Society, said she expected the government to propose inferior fostering support for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children compared with that proposed for other looked-after children.
Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children may have to leave foster care at 16 and then go into shared housing or some sort of supported living, she added.
However, the green paper said that foster care support should go on until looked-after children are 18.
Nandy said this recognised that young people did not necessarily grow up and leave home when they were 18. She added: “If you think that one 18-year-old might need support for longer, the other one might need it for longer too. It’s setting up a two-tier system and it’s almost happening by the back door. It just seems outrageous.”
She added that the proposals seemed to be underpinned by an assumption that all unaccompanied asylum-seeking children were economic migrants.
A consultation document on the plans was expected to be published last month but a Home Office spokesperson said that it would now be published in December.
Nandy said the longer the document was delayed the nearer its publication would get to April when the new asylum model was due to rolled out across the UK.
She said that there was uncertainty about how unaccompanied asylum-seeking children would fit into the model and that professionals were looking to the proposals for clarity.
Contact the author: Amy Taylor