William Eichler 14 October 2016

Support for unaccompanied refugee children must be ‘properly funded’, LGA says

The Government should ensure ‘long-term funding arrangements’ are in place to help councils as they look after children arriving from the Calais refugee camp.

Whitehall is committed to resettling a number of unaccompanied children currently staying in the Calais refugee camp, which will be demolished before the end of the year.

According to the Amiens agreement between France and the UK, Whitehall will resettle any isolated minors with established family ties in the UK.

The number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children living in England increased by more than 60 per cent to over 4,000 during the last year.

The Local Government Association (LGA) pointed out councils have a ‘strong track record’ in supporting children travelling alone, but stressed resettlement needs to be ‘properly funded’.

‘Those arriving from the Calais camp will require care and support packages directly from councils and their partners,’ said Cllr David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA's asylum, refugee and migration task group.

‘For those children relocated with existing family living in the UK, councils will still want to be assured that arrangements put in place can meet the child’s needs and that they are safe and well.’

Cllr Simmonds said many of the children would have experienced ‘experienced horrendous conditions’ and so would need extra support.

‘Councils have offered to provide expert children’s social workers to carry out assessments to help ensure the process is managed effectively and at speed,’ he continued.

‘They will also play a crucial role in co-ordinating the support of charities and local volunteers.’

‘Councils also require long-term funding arrangements from government so that the commitment to support those children starting a new life in the UK is properly funded,’ Cllr Simmonds added.

Photo: Procyk Radek / Shutterstock.com

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