Supporting refugee and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

Councils in England currently look after 69,500 children who are unable to live with their birth parents, a figure that has increased by just under 2,500 over the past three years.

Key messages

The LGA, partner organisations regionally and nationally, and many councils have been working hard to scale up the arrangements that have supported new arrivals from the Calais refugee camp. In order to do this, local government needs full recovery of costs for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and better, transparent real time information.

The challenges faced by councils will not just be financial, but also relate to the ongoing availability of foster care placements, school places, therapeutic services, places to learn English, legal advice, and translation services. We need a conversation across government and with other partners to enable and maintain access to these.

Councils continue to work hard to support the many programmes for refugees and asylum seekers currently in operation. In addition to the growing number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in the UK, councils also help families through the Syrian programme, other refugee resettlement schemes, and large numbers of children in destitute families whose asylum applications have been refused by the Home Office. We need greater alignment of these programmes so any ongoing needs can be met without creating unsustainable pressure on local services.