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ADCS statement on vulnerable UASC arriving in Kent

Jenny Coles, ADCS President, said:

“Kent County Council and a handful of other gateway authorities have been supporting a high number of asylum-seeking children for many years. Increasing numbers of arrivals in Kent by boat in the past few months has created unprecedented demand on their services and the council has reached the difficult decision that it no longer has the capacity to safely accept any more newly arrived unaccompanied asylum seeking children into their care. These children and young people are fleeing desperate situations and arrive here alone in search of safety. We are extremely grateful to those councils who have offered their support, but more assistance is needed.

“We have been here before - this is a national humanitarian crisis which requires a long term, national humanitarian response. Councils will want to help but now more than ever we need the government’s support. The Association continues to work with the Department for Education and the Home Office to address the immediate pressures in Kent and press for resolution on several long standing issues including funding, a shortage of placements and a lack of specialist mental health support to help young people recover from the traumas they have experienced. In the context of the pandemic questions remain about safely quarantining new arrivals too.

“We welcome the government’s recognition of the pressures we face and their commitment to launching the long awaited consultation on changes to the national transfer scheme later this month, the Association will be responding formally after discussions with our members in due course. Right now our priority must be to work together to ensure that vulnerable children arriving in the UK are treated with compassion and kindness and their best interests remain at the heart of our responses.”

ENDS


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