Comment: unaccompanied child asylum seekers

Since 2000, 15,000 unaccompanied children have entered the UK seeking asylum. Local authorities must provide them with accommodation, education, health and other services where necessary. This means keeping track of them, which is no small task.

The National Register for Unaccompanied Children (NRUC) was set up to do this. But a year on it emerges that 11 councils are failing to record data on the unaccompanied children in their care. As well as keeping them safe, registering results in continuity of care if they move between authorities. Without records no one will be any the wiser if they simply disappear, be it trafficked off to a life of degradation, or ending up with the wrong crowd leading to drug use, prostitution or crime.

There was scepticism in March this year at government proposals to hand over the care of all unaccompanied asylum seekers to a few councils in England. But, if some authorities are reluctant to protect these children, perhaps it is the best way. The Home Office has promised to address the inadequacies in services for unaccompanied children in a consultation paper due out next week. It needs to. If ever there was a case for taking the responsibilities of corporate parent seriously, this is it.

Related link
Eleven councils snub register to aid safety of asylum-seeking children

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.