The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) has published a special thematic report on unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children using data included in the ADCS Safeguarding Pressures Phase 5 research.
This thematic report draws together returns from over 100 local authorities in England and supplements this with national data and a literature review to provide an insight into the characteristics and needs of unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children and the services available or being developed by councils to meet these needs.
This research shows that:
- As at 31 March 2016 local authorities were supporting 4,689 unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC). However, in intervening months there has been a sharp increase in arrivals of unaccompanied children largely driven by the clearance of the Calais migrant camp, the Dubs Amendment to the Immigration Act and children being transferred under Dublin III arrangements which means that the total number of UASC to date is significantly larger today and is set to grow further in the coming weeks and months
- 76% of unaccompanied children and young people arriving in the UK were aged 16-17 and over 90% were male, this picture is likely to change as more and more children are reunited in this country under Dublin III arrangements
- The most prevalent countries of origin for UASC arriving in the UK were found to be Afghanistan, Eritrea, Albania, Iran, Vietnam, Iraq and Syria; regions with long-running conflicts, political instability, and a poor record on human rights
- Local authorities highlighted the mental and physical health of UASCs arriving in the UK as a common concern, over a third of young people displayed psychological symptoms upon arrival, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks and depression
- A growing concern for local authorities is finding a suitable placement that meets the needs of each child or young person arriving in the UK, over 75% of respondents talked about the struggle to find placements. With the majority of UASC placed in foster care the national shortage of foster care placements was cited as the main challenge for most authorities
- Using data provided by dozens of responding local authorities ADCS has calculated that the grant funding provided by the Home Office covers on average 50% of the costs of caring for a UASC.
Read the full report: ADCS thematic report on unaccompanied and asylum seeking refugee children