Mark Whitehead 25 October 2016

Government pledges support to councils to help refugee children

The Government will work with local authorities to help children from the 'Jungle' refugee camp in Calais who are eligible to enter the UK, home secretary Amber Rudd has pledged.

But she said only children who were already in the camp before the authorities began to clear it would be considered, so as not to encourage others to head for Calais.

She said the Government would work closely with local authorities and social workers to ensure that the children are eligible and that 'it is in their best interests to come.'

The home secretary spoke as the authorities in Calais began clearing the camp after most of the refugees and migrants had been transported to other centres throughout France.

Ms Rudd said the British and French governments remain committed to ensuring that children who are eligible to come to the UK are brought over as quickly as possible and those still in the camp are given protection.

She told the House of Commons that almost 200 children have been brought to the UK since her statement on 10 October.

But she said it was important not to encourage more children to go to Calais, so only those already present in the camp before the clearance began would be considered for entry to the UK.

She told the Commons: 'We will continue to do this quickly, but it is essential that we carry out the proper safeguarding, age assessment and security checks, working closely with local authorities and social workers here in the UK to ensure that the children are eligible and that it is in their best interests to come.’

For more on this topic read the LocalGov interview with Kent councillor Peter Oakford about the challenges his council has faced in caring for unaccompanied refugee children.

Photo: Procyk Radek / Shutterstock.com

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