Funding for unaccompanied minors announced

Money for local authorities with large numbers of unaccompanied
asylum seekers about to turn 18 will be shared among 20 councils,
the Department for Education and Skills has confirmed,
writes Sally Gillen.

The move follows the High Court ruling in August 2003 that
Hillingdon Council had a duty to provide care and support for
unaccompanied minors until they were 21, and in some cases 24, in
line with services for other care leavers.

Kent Council, which had an estimated 1,825 unaccompanied minors
aged 16/17 in March 2003, is top of the list and will receive
almost half of the £12m fund. Hillingdon Council, which had
the second highest number (805), will receive £1.5m.

But Hillingdon Council leader Ray Puddifoot said the settlement
would not be enough and that no funds had been made available for
money already spent last year.

However, he welcomed DfES assurances that more money would be
made available to cover the additional cost of unaccompanied minors
who had already left the council’s care who could now return
for help once the £5m contingency fund to cover this group
dried up.

So far, around 50 former unaccompanied minors have sought
assistance from Hillingdon Council alone, and Puddifoot estimated
there could be a further 500 entitled to return to the council for

Under the funding arrangements, councils will get no extra money
for the first 44 unaccompanied minors who turn 18 and qualify for
leaving care services that they deal with (news, page 12,

Puddifoot estimated that a council such as West Sussex, which
has 43 unaccompanied minors, would have to spend around
£400,000 on support and accommodation services.


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