Child Asylum Seekers Can Have Priority Access to NHS and Schools

Calais ‘Jungle’

A high court judge has implied it is right for unaccompanied child asylum seekers to be given preferential access to taxpayer-funded medical treatment and desirable school places.

Migrant children with absent parents can get access to oversubscribed schools, Mr. Justice Peter Jackson said, and social workers may ensure them priority in getting National Health Service (NHS) care, the Daily Mail reports.

He said it was right for a council to use a ‘care order‘ rather than a ‘section 20 order‘ to govern the future of two young Afghan boys and secure them the special treatment.

The advantages included the fact “the children would have priority in relation to the obtaining of speciality therapy or medical care,” the judge explained.

He added: “They [the boys] would undoubtedly be a first call on the local authority’s resources if subject to a care order, and, depending on the education legislation, qualify for priority in the allocation of educational resources.”

According to the website Child Protection Resource, a ‘care order’ gives the local authority more sweeping power over the care and future of a child and allows them to act in the place of foster parents and carers.

The case Mr. Justice Jackson was ruling on is considered a test case and involves two boys, aged nine and 10, who spent over a year travelling from Afghanistan to Calais, France, before appearing in North West England.

The boys are now living with a Pakistani foster family, with whom they share cultural similarities but not a language. One boy is said to be struggling with anxiety and has required NHS therapy.

“It is thought that in April 2016 the children were somehow sent out of Afghanistan, whether by their mothers or another family member is not known,” Mr. Justice Jackson said.

“In some way they crossed Asia and the Middle East and Europe and ended up in the refugee camp in Calais known as the Jungle on 18 August 2016, having travelled a long distance with other refugees by lorry.

“It appears that these children lived together in a tent without any adult being responsible for them for about four and a half months.

“The next that is known is that they arrived on 18 August in the North West, alone but well-dressed.”


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