William Eichler 07 December 2015

Councils struggling to provide adequate protection for asylum-seeking children

Councils struggling to provide adequate protection for asylum-seeking children image

A dramatic increase in the amount of asylum-seeking children that go missing in the UK raises concerns that local authorities are struggling to cope with the demands being placed on them.

New figures obtained by the Observer reveal that more than 900 asylum-seeking children have gone missing in the past five years, 340 of whom disappeared between January and September in 2015.

Of those who have disappeared this year, according to Freedom of Information responses from 132 local authorities across England and Wales, one third of them are still missing and are at risk of exploitation and radicalisation.

Authorities in Kent, which are responsible for 982 under-18s who arrived this year, three times more than 2014, told the Observer they do not have the resources to provide adequate protection for vulnerable children.

There has also been, according to the figures, an 80% increase in the numbers of unaccompanied children in Northampton, and Cheshire East, Hammersmith and Thurrock have seen the number of asylum-seeking children in their care triple.

Croydon, which has the country’s only asylum-seeker screening unit, is also reported to be under strain.

Labour MP Ann Coffey, who carried out an inquiry into children who went missing from care three years ago, described the latest findings as ‘utterly shocking’.

‘We need to find out who is encouraging these children to go missing, where they are being taken and what risks they are facing’, she told the Observer. ‘To do that there needs to be a systematic recording system so that we can build up a national picture of what is going on.’

A commitment to civil debate image

A commitment to civil debate

Cllr Arooj Shah has been the target of recent threats and harassment. Leaders from all parties in Oldham have now come together to add their signature to a ‘politics, not personalities’ pledge, she explains.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Environmental Health/Environmental Protection Officer - Noise

Tower Hamlets London Borough Council
£41,607.00 - £44,598.00
This post attracts an essential car user allowance. The post holder is able to take part in the Council's flexible working scheme. Tower Hamlets, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Tower Hamlets London Borough Council

Director of Financial Services (Deputy Section 151)

London Borough of Waltham Forest
£110,118 to £118,864
his is a great opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge that will lead to becoming a Section 151 Officer. Waltham Forest, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Waltham Forest

Director of Business Development

North Yorkshire County Council
50-60k + relocation allowance
We are looking for a dynamic and innovative person to help us deliver our ambitious new strategic objectives set out in... North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Strategic Service Manager - Bridgend Youth Justice Service

Bridgend County Borough Council
£44,863 - £45,859 per annum
An exciting opportunity has presented to lead Bridgend Youth Justice Service. Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recuriter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Corporate Property Surveyor

Ashford Borough Council
£34,476 to £37,158 pa - plus Lease Car or Cash alternative of £2,080 pa
Ashford Borough Council has a long and proud record of driving high quality place making. Ashford, Kent
Recuriter: Ashford Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue