The city’s children’s services are reportedly “seriously overburdened.”
For the second year in a row, Kent County Council has warned that it has “hit the limit” in terms of the number of unaccompanied child migrants it can care for.
Roger Gough, the council leader, and Sue Chandler, the cabinet member for integrated children’s services, announced on June 14 that the council had reached an unsafe capacity and would no longer be able to accept any new unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) as of June 14, just ten months after it had to take similar action.
“I am heartbroken to find myself in this inconceivable situation again in such a short amount of time. Despite warnings and ongoing discussions with the government, Kent’s UASC support resources are once again considerably overburdened, according to Mr Gough.
The Home Office announced steps on Thursday to encourage more local authorities across the UK to accept unaccompanied child migrants.
The council has already taken legal action against the Home Secretary for the “severe pressure” on its services, but has yet to receive a response from Priti Patel.
Mr Gough said the council would “no longer be able to meet our statutory duty to safely care for the children we support” after consulting with its Director of Children’s Services, and that no new arrivals could be accepted until “sufficient transfers have been made outside of Kent bringing our numbers back to safe levels.”
According to the council, the government recommends that Kent care for a maximum of 231 UASC under the age of 18.
According to Kent County Council, the number of under-18 UASC in care has climbed from 274 to over 400 since the beginning of the year, and the numbers are fast increasing on a daily basis.
If every other local government in the UK took two or three UASC under the age of 18 who arrived at Dover, Kent’s numbers would quickly drop to the council’s safe allocation.
The council also claimed it is dealing with 1,100 UASC care leavers over the age of 18 who will stay in its care until they reach the age of 25.
“If every,” Mr. Gough said. (This is a brief piece.)