Proposals to resettle asylum seeking children in Derbyshire

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Proposals to accommodate unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children are to be considered by Derbyshire County Council in response to a Government request for help.

The council has formed a partnership to prepare to respond to the Government’s new national transfer scheme introduced this summer under the Immigration Act 2016.

It is designed to ensure an equal distribution of unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children (UASC) across the country from areas including Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.

Most UASC remain in the care of the authority where they claim asylum resulting in a small number of local authorities looking after the vast majority of children, most notably Kent, with many councils looking after few or none.

The national transfer scheme started on July 1 with distribution based on each local authority taking up to 0.07% of its total child population unless they have the resources to offer more.

The council’s Cabinet will consider proposals for looking after UASC in Derbyshire at a meeting on Tuesday 20 September.

If they are approved, the Government would provide funding for each UASC transferred to Derbyshire paid directly to the county council.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Councillor Jim Coyle said: “Like all UK councils we’ve been asked to do our fair share and support these children as they arrive in the country up to a threshold agreed with the Government as part of its national transfer scheme.

“We’ve formed a partnership to prepare for the Government request for help and are currently in discussions with other organisations about the best way we could support these young people in Derbyshire if Cabinet approves the proposals to accept them.”

Options for looking after UASC in Derbyshire could include county council foster carers, independent fostering agencies and independent accommodation with support from agencies such as Barnardo’s.

The Department for Education and Home Office is working with the Local Government Association and Directors of Children’s Services at councils across the UK to introduce the transfer scheme.

The Derbyshire UASC partnership includes the county council, health providers, police and community and voluntary groups.

Derbyshire County Council is always keen to hear from people who are interested in becoming a foster carer to give a child a loving home. More information is available by emailing fostering@derbyshire.gov.uk or at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/fostering