Kent County Council has warned it has reached its capacity to safely care for any more unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
The council said that from today it is unable to accept any new arrivals and called on the Home Office to fairly distribute the children to other local authorities.
It said an 'impossible strain' has been placed on its social care services due to an escalation of new arrivals during lockdown and the failure of the National Transfer Scheme.
Council leader, Roger Gough, said: 'The stark reality today is that, despite my conversations with the Home Office alerting them that Kent expected to reach safe capacity to meet its statutory duty of care this weekend, 13 new arrivals in the last two days has now tipped the balance and the council simply cannot safely accommodate any more new arrivals at this time.'
The council has cared for over 1,500 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children since 2014/15.
Sue Chandler, the council's cabinet member for integrated children’s services, added: If every other local authority in the UK were to immediately accept two or three (under 18 year-old) UASC from Kent into their care, Kent’s numbers would reduce to the council’s safe allocation as stated in the National Transfer Scheme (231 children) – Kent is currently caring for almost triple this amount.'
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