Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement that the Government will be working with local authorities to see what help can be provided to support unaccompanied asylum seeking children currently in Europe, Cllr David Simmonds, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Asylum, Refugee and Migration Task Group, said:
“Councils have a strong track record of supporting refugees, including children travelling alone or those in extended family groups. The vast majority of councils across the country are already providing care and support for more than 4,000 unaccompanied asylum seeking children already in the UK as well as large numbers of children in destitute families whose asylum applications have been refused but who remain in the country.
“The LGA has, for some time, been in discussion with our counterparts in other European countries about the response to the refugee crisis. Councils stand ready to play their part in supporting these children.
“However, the Government still needs to clarify the long-term funding arrangements for councils looking after unaccompanied children, and provide detail of how a national dispersal mechanism will operate. We are already working with government to ensure that unaccompanied children currently in the care of English councils are not disproportionately located in a small number of areas, and that councils taking responsibility for additional children have the necessary resources to properly meet their needs.
“It is therefore vital that the scheme announced today is fully aligned, and funded, alongside this and other existing programmes for resettling refugees, ensuring that councils are able to properly support these vulnerable children while continuing to provide vital services for their local community.”