Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children
Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: No
The Cabinet considered a report of the Executive Director (Children and Public Health) setting out the current crisis in Kent and proposed that 0.07% (27) of the child population in Southend are accepted as Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC), which is in line with other local authorities and the practice in Southend since 2016.
1. That Southend-on-Sea take 0.07% (27) UASC of the child population.
2. That Southend-on-Sea take two UASC per month until it reaches 0.07% (27), because of the high numbers of UASC numbers coming in through Kent.
3. That a 1 year temporary funding increase upfront of £122,000 to fund an additional Social Worker post and 2 Personal Assistants to work with the expected increase of UASC children, noting that where additional income will be received for the additional UASC placements, if placement costs can be sustained within the additional income a proportion of this cost will be mitigated, be approved.
4. That the funding pressures in relation to support and placement cost of UASC and that this position will continue to be closely monitored and reviewed, be noted.
Reasons for decision:
1. Southend has a responsibility to support these vulnerable young people and assist our colleagues - there is some capacity in the system to accommodate taking 20+ UASC.
2. To be able to manage this influx of UASC as well as supporting them potentially up to the age of 25, additional resources will be required by way of a social worker and Personal Advisors (x2).
1. To not offer support to colleagues in Kent and refuse to participate in the national voluntary National Transfer scheme (NTS). This is not recommended as it would be neglecting a national responsibility to support vulnerable young people that needs to be shared across all areas. If the voluntary NTS is not successful, then central government may mandate the scheme.
2. Participate in the voluntary National Transfer Scheme – this option is likely to overtake the offer of support, given the expected numbers awaiting transfer and the fact that there is capacity in Southend and the Eastern Region.
Note: This is an Executive Function
Eligible for call-in to: People Scrutiny Committee
Cabinet Member: Cllr Burton
Report author: John O'Loughlin
Publication date: 17/09/2021
Date of decision: 14/09/2021
Decided at meeting: 14/09/2021 - Cabinet