Local authorities are having to place British children in care homes outside their local counties because their social services have been overwhelmed by unaccompanied child migrants. Despite the strain on services, government ministers are considering calls to bring in more migrant kids from Europe and beyond.
In August, Breitbart London reported on the difficulties Kent County Council were facing in finding foster homes for the 639 unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) in its care. The council was also forced to ask central government for financial help after caring for the children blew a £5.5 million hole in its budget.
Since then the number of children in the Council’s care has risen to 924 unaccompanied children under the age of 18, the Times has reported.
“This has affected our ability to place citizen children within Kent,” said Peter Oakford, Kent County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services. “We have had to place Kent children outside the county due to the influx of UASC, which is not a good position to be in.” The council fears the number will rise again the spring, he added.
According to government rules, the local authority which first registers the child is financially responsible for that child, including fostering, education including university fees, and housing, up until the age of 25 – even if the child moves to another region. That has placed huge burden on three councils in particular: Kent, Hillingdon in West London and Croydon in South London. They respectively house the Port of Dover, Heathrow airport and Lunar House, where all asylum claims are made.
In total, the three councils alone spent more than £34 million caring for unaccompanied children in the last financial year, when the number of children taken in was just a third of current levels.
Yet the burden isn’t only financial: in December Breitbart London reported on the 100,000 British children who were left homeless thanks to social housing being oversubscribed. That number has risen by 25 percent in just four years.
Despite these figures, government ministers are seriously considering calls from campaigners to open the doors to lone child migrants, including one by charity Save the Children, which has called on the government to take 3,000 children from Europe.
Last night former shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper called on the government to take child migrants from Europe, in addition to the 20,000 Syrian asylum seekers it has already pledged to take from camps in the Middle East.
“We hear rumours that they [the government] will look only at helping child refugees from camps in the region. That is not enough,” she told MPs in the Commons.
Likening the plight of the children to that of Jewish children saved by the Kindertransport before the holocaust, she said: “We should especially be helping those who have family in Britain who are desperate to care for them.”
Former Conservative minister Eric Pickles agreed with her, saying that, although the analogy with the Kindertransport “should not be stretched too far … there are some clear parallels that we need to address. We need to remember the enormous contribution that the Kindertransport made to this country: distinguished doctors, surgeons and Members of both Houses were saved by it.”
He continued by appealing to the spirit of Christmas, or, as he called it “that great Christian festival of children,” and hoped that “that spirit lingers beyond Boxing day.”
Responding, the minister for immigration James Brokenshire said that it was “obviously right to recall Holocaust Memorial Day” in this context, adding “Our focus is clearly on trying to assist the children who are most in need and the refugees who are most in need.
“That is why we have taken the approach of providing aid assistance and of having the vulnerable persons relocation scheme. The resettlement scheme is aimed at the issues of vulnerability, part of which is about children and about orphans, and it is very much focused on those who have suffered most.
“On the Save the Children report and its request for us to consider taking the 3,000 children, I have already said—the Prime Minister said the same in the House a short while ago—that we are actively considering the proposal. We will obviously return to the House when we have investigated and concluded our consideration of that matter.”