To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that local authorities are supporting eligible children in their care to apply to the EU Settlement scheme.
8 February 2021
The Home Office has put in place a support model to ensure the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) is accessible for all, including looked after children. The Home Office has engaged extensively with relevant stakeholders such as the Department for Education, Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Children’s Services to assess the needs of this group and ensure they are supported. This engagement continues and all parties are committed to ensuring local authorities are supported throughout the process.
To help local authorities prepare for the launch of the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office made several recommendations. Identifying the eligible cohort of children and care leavers was one of the recommendations, along with identifying resource to manage this work stream. The Home Office has also produced an information pack to assist local authorities with responsibilities for looked after children.
The Home Office is committed to continue engaging with local authorities as they undertake their responsibilities to ensure all eligible looked after children and care leavers are supported to make an application to the EUSS. The Home Office will ensure caseworkers liaise with and support applicants to get the status they require.
The Home Office is directly engaging with local authorities, social workers, and those making applications on behalf of looked after children, children in care and care leavers to provide support and information. We will work with supporting organisations to assist with the evidence which could be provided and apply evidential flexibility where possible.
Additionally, the Home Office has been holding monthly teleconferences for local authority staff who are undertaking this work. The teleconferences provide a forum to obtain information, ask questions and raise issues. A designated help line number has also been made available for local authority staff to contact trained caseworkers in the Home Office should they need to discuss any aspect of the EU Settlement Scheme, be it a specific case issue, or a matter of general information.