Kent County Council has announced that the Council will stop accepting separated children into its care within days. Additionally, the Council has issued legal proceedings against the Home Secretary for the Home Office’s failure to secure placements for these children.
To put this news into context, these actions follow repeated warnings by Kent County Council about the pressures it has been to provide adequate support for the separated children placed in its care. Recent weeks has seen a rise in the number of unaccompanied children crossing the Channel from France in search of safety – in fact there were double the number of children last month compared with the same period the year before.
The Refugee Council remains deeply concerned about the ongoing delay by the government to reform the National Transfer Scheme to ensure that councils, including Kent County Council, are able to safely and fairly meet their duty to act as responsible parents for children that come into their care.
Enver Solomon, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council has responded to this news by saying:
“Children who travel to the UK seeking safety have endured horrific experiences including abuse and exploitation both in their home country and during perilous journeys to our shores. On arrival, it is not unusual for them to have physical injuries, hypothermia, dehydration and be deeply traumatised.
“Kent Council has been under immense pressure and not surprisingly is now unable to provide care for so many young people. As their corporate parent this government is now failing in its duty to provide the love and care these children desperately need. This cannot go on – we need decisive action to ensure that no child who comes to the UK alone seeking safety is neglected by the state.”
Notes to editors:
The Refugee Council is contracted by the Home Office to operate an area in the Atrium of the Kent Intake Unit. There we provide a place for children to wait in a supportive environment after they have had their identity and asylum claim registered by Immigration Officials and before they are collected by children’s social workers.