Thursday, 19 January 2017

Child asylum seekers will receive worse care, union warns

Unison has warned that funding cuts could lead to child asylum seekers receiving worse care.

Dave Prentis, the union’s general secretary, has written to the United Kingdom Border Agency to express concern about cuts to funds paid to councils for caring and supporting unaccompanied child asylum seekers.

Some councils are receiving cuts to their unaccompanied asylum seeking children service of up to 15 per cent, the union said.

Mr Prentis said: ‘Unaccompanied child asylum seekers are some of the most vulnerable young people in our society. They come to the UK alone, seeking safe haven from terrible situations, and we should help them to rebuild their lives.

“Councils have a legal duty to protect all children, wherever they come from. Not only is it deeply worrying that children from abroad could get worse care than local citizen children - it is also illegal.

“We are calling on the Home Office and the UK Border Agency to think again about the needs of these vulnerable young children and stop these damaging cuts.” Solihull Council in the West Midlands has received a cut to its UASC budget of £1.2 million, the union said.

Unison says that plans are being drawn up to remove children aged 16 and a half from care and put them into independent accommodation. It says Solihull Council is also planning to cut the number of social workers and support workers working on unaccompanied child asylum seeker cases, making them deal with higher caseloads.

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