Kent County Council has begun authorized proceedings towards the Residence Workplace after it mentioned its youngsters’s providers have reached “breaking level”.
For the reason that starting of the yr, a complete of 242 unaccompanied asylum-seeking youngsters (UASC) have reached Kent’s shores and the authority’s director of youngsters’s providers has mentioned “sufficient is sufficient”.
There are presently almost double the variety of UASC youngsters in care within the county than the federal government says it’s protected to look after.
Following an analogous plea final yr, the Residence Workplace and Division for Schooling promised to reform the nationwide system in order that Kent providers wouldn’t be put beneath the identical pressure this summer season.
However, the council says that within the intervening 9 months, though it welcomed authorities help within the switch of some youngsters out of Kent, help with age assessments and extra funding, the substantive adjustments wanted to the Nationwide Switch Scheme (NTS) to forestall a repeat haven’t been made, the council says.
An announcement from the council mentioned: “As soon as once more Kent providers are susceptible to being overwhelmed by the variety of new UASC arrivals by boat, which already stands at 60 extra youngsters than on the identical time final yr.
“Kent’s providers have reached breaking level for the second time in beneath a yr.”
The council has now taken the primary steps in authorized proceedings which is says is designed to “implement a long-term answer that can forestall this disaster from occurring once more”.
The proposed Judicial Overview asks the house secretary to make use of her present powers to direct native authorities apart from Kent to “obtain their fair proportion of UASC”.
Roger Gough, the authority’s director of youngsters’s providers says the present tempo of arrivals and pressure on care providers is prone to imply he’ll quickly now not be capable of safely settle for any additional new UASC arrivals in Kent.
Border Pressure will then be requested to position new arrivals straight into different native authorities across the nation from the port, as they did for 3 months final yr.
Mr Gough mentioned: “I’m deeply saddened that we are actually seeing a repeat of the identical disaster of 9 months in the past.
“Whereas there have been plenty of welcome measures from authorities – to the good thing about the Kent council taxpayer – we now have not seen what’s most wanted: a strong Nationwide Switch Scheme that stops port authorities corresponding to Kent coming beneath unmanageable strain.
“Over this previous yr we now have argued persistently and repeatedly this have to be carried out by a compulsory system.”
“Sufficient is sufficient. A sturdy, long-term answer is effectively overdue and significant for the long run welfare of all youngsters supported by KCC, no matter their background, and the continuation of the wonderful providers that help them.”
Between 1 January and 1 June this yr 242 unaccompanied youngsters arrived on Kent’s shores and been handed to its Youngsters’s Companies.
Of those, solely 52 have been transferred to different native authorities beneath the voluntary NTS.
An announcement from the Residence Workplace mentioned it recognised the “longstanding function that Kent County Council has performed in supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking youngsters” and that’s was “extraordinarily grateful for his or her contribution”.
It added: “We proceed to encourage extra areas to affix the Nationwide Switch Scheme and do their half.
“We’ve got already consulted on learn how to enhance the Scheme to make it fairer – the result of which can be printed very shortly.”