Don’t uproot them again

Local authorities have a duty to provide this country’s estimated 6,000 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children with care and support. On the whole, this has fallen to councils in south east England where the most commonly used entry ports for asylum seekers into the UK are. Strong, cultural communities have built up in these areas, offering much-needed familiarity and support to unaccompanied minors.

Now a government review is proposing setting up partnership arrangements with selected authorities outside the South East. Those councils funding a disproportionate number of unaccompanied minors may be relieved that their financial pressures could be eased. But this move has to be handled carefully. We must avoid packing off unaccompanied minors to local authorities with no expertise of working with them and where there are no established cultural networks.

The rumour is that the review could lead to the setting up of rather ominous sounding “super children’s homes” to house them, although the government says that such homes would be contrary to regulations. Let’s hope it is the last we hear of the idea.

See Cost-cutting fears over proposals to reform care of child asylum seekers

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