Laura Sharman 09 May 2019

Councils receive extra £30m to care for asylum seeking children

The amount of funding councils receive to look after unaccompanied asylum seeking children is set to rise by £30m.

The Government said the funding increase will ensure all local authorities are paid the same amount per child regardless of the child’s age or when they entered the UK.

Immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, said: ‘I recognise the vital role local authorities play in this effort and that is why I have increased the funding available for looking after unaccompanied asylum seeking children by over £30m.

‘This funding will help make sure the Government and local authorities across the UK can continue to work together to support vulnerable children.’ Under the funding review, local authorities will now be paid £114 per night for every unaccompanied asylum seeking child they support.

Council leaders welcomed the extra funding but also urged the Government to cover the cost of unaccompanied children leaving care.

Cllr David Simmonds, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Asylum, Migration and Refugee Task Group, said: ‘Given that councils have seen an increase of more than 50 per cent in two years in unaccompanied children leaving care when they turn 18, we hope the Government’s ongoing review of support for care leavers addresses this remaining cost pressure.

’With the vast majority of refugee children aged 16 or 17, this change in funding needs to be followed through so that care leaving costs, which are equal to or greater than those of non-UASC, are fully funded, as this remains the main barrier to councils taking on responsibility for ever-growing numbers.’

The Home Office is also working to reduce the time it takes to conclude the asylum cases for unaccompanied children.

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