The UK Border Agency has been urged not to cut the money it gives to councils for supporting child asylum seekers, amid fears that a two-tier system of care will develop.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of public services trade union Unison, has written to the acting chief executive of the UKBA warning that cuts of up to 15% to local authority services will create a two-tier system, leaving asylum-seeking children worse off.
Prentis wrote: “Councils have a legal duty to protect all children, wherever they come from. Not only is it deeply worrying that children from abroad could get worse care than local citizen children – it is also illegal.
“We are calling on the Home Office and the UK Border Agency to think again about the needs of these vulnerable young children and stop these damaging cuts.”
The union claimed Solihull, one of the worst hit local authorities, stands to lose £1.2m (15%) of a grant which currently funds services for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
The cuts have allegedly led the council to amend care plans for asylum-seeking children, which could see those aged 16 and a half moved from care into independent accommodation.
Unison claims the council is also planning to cut the number of social workers and support workers working on unaccompanied child asylum-seeker cases.
Community Care is awaiting responses from Solihull Council and the Home Office.
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