High court rules right

The High Court has ruled that unaccompanied asylum-seeking children
living in this country are covered by the Leaving Care Act 2000 as
are all other children here. And quite right too.

Many of these young people have experienced unimaginable trauma and
often don’t know if their families are alive or dead. It would be
outrageous if, on turning 18, they were simply abandoned and denied
assistance available to others. As happens with care leavers now,
anyone able to make their way independently will do so, but help
should be available for those who need it.

However, the judge acknowledged that councils near the main entry
ports bear a disproportionate burden supporting vulnerable children
arriving in this country. This burden could amount to as much as
£15m a year for a council such as Kent.

The Home Office’s response is that the care of unaccompanied asylum
seeking children comes under the local authority remit. But this is
simply passing the buck.

Asylum is a national issue and the government is responsible for
resourcing services for asylum seekers. So they are the ones who
should be picking up the tab following this judgement, not
cash-strapped councils.

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