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Undocumented Migrants: Children

Question for Home Office

UIN 126978, tabled on 8 December 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she plans to take to ensure that children arriving in Kent via migrant crossings are protected and cared for.

Answered on

16 December 2020

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) arriving in Dover are cared for in the Kent Intake Unit (KIU) before being placed in appropriate social services care. Those claiming asylum are only in the KIU whilst their claims are registered.

Children are always prioritised and supported there for as short a period as possible. Once a child is in the care of a local authority, they are provided support and care on the same basis as all other looked-after children.

Where a local authority, such as Kent, is supporting UASC at more than 0.07% of their total child population, they may refer an unaccompanied child to the National Transfer Scheme (NTS). The NTS is the mechanism that allows legal responsibility of a UASC to be transferred from one local authority to another, where it is in the child’s best interests to do so. We have recently undertaken a consultation with local authorities on an improved model for the NTS. This consultation closed on 30 September and we are carefully considering the responses.

In addition to the money paid to local authorities through the local government finance settlement, the Home Office provides funding to local authorities looking after UASC and former UASC care leavers. Increases to these contributions for 2020-21 were announced on 8 June.

Answered by

Home Office