Kent County Council to Receive £9.8 Million to Aid Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children.

Home Office Funding Addresses Accommodation Shortages Amidst Concerns Over Hotel Placements

Kent County Council (KCC) is set to receive a crucial boost in funding of £9.8 million from the Home Office, aimed at providing better accommodation options for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. This financial injection, endorsed by the High Court, comes at a critical juncture as KCC grapples with the mounting challenges of housing and caring for these vulnerable young individuals.
The pressing need for immediate financial support was underscored in a recent High Court hearing, where it was emphasized that a £9.75 million cash injection would significantly bolster KCC’s capacity to provide adequate care for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. The council has been struggling to meet the increasing demand for suitable accommodation and support.
The announcement coincides with criticism from Every Child Protected Against Trafficking (ECPAT), an anti-trafficking charity, regarding the continued use of hotels to house these children. ECPAT highlighted that the proportion of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children placed in Kent hotels had been “growing,” despite such practices being ruled unlawful in July. In response to these concerns, Judge Mr. Justice Chamberlain has urged KCC and government ministers to collaborate on a comprehensive plan to ensure the local authority fulfills its obligations adequately.
The additional funding will play a pivotal role in augmenting KCC’s capacity to accommodate unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. The government has expressed its commitment to facilitating “improvements to the speed of transfers” of these children between different areas, deeming it an essential part of the solution. Remarkably, KCC has taken responsibility for nearly 80% of unaccompanied minors arriving in Kent since July 27. However, it has attributed its inability to extend its support to all children to “systemic problems” that require government intervention and assistance.
This funding announcement offers a glimmer of hope for KCC, which issued warnings of an impending local care crisis last month, citing overwhelming numbers of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. The council bears a legal duty to provide care for the majority of children seeking asylum in the UK who arrive via small boats in Kent.

The injection of £9.8 million from the Home Office signifies a critical step towards addressing the challenges faced by Kent County Council in caring for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. As the government and local authorities work together to improve the situation, this funding is expected to provide much-needed relief and ensure the welfare of these vulnerable young individuals remains a top priority.




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