Supporting unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children in Derbyshire
We've formed a partnership to respond to government plans to welcome more asylum seeking and refugee children (UASC) to the UK under the Immigration Act 2016.
The Government launched its national transfer scheme on 1 July 2016 to ensure an equal distribution of UASC across the country from areas including Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.
Most UASC remain in the care of the authority where they claim asylum resulting in a small number of local authorities looking after the vast majority of children, most notably Kent, with many councils looking after few or none.
Under the national transfer scheme distribution is based on each local authority taking up to 0.07% of its total child population unless they have the resources to offer more.
Our Cabinet agreed in September 2016 to accept UASC in line with the Government's national scheme.
Our Cabinet Member for Young People Councillor Alex Dale said:
"Like all UK councils we've been asked do our fair share to support these children as they arrive in the county up to a threshold agreed with the Government as part of its national transfer scheme.
"These young people have suffered unimaginable hardship and trauma in their short lives and we want to do what we can to help them.
"We've formed a partnership to respond to the Government request for help and support these young people the best way we can in Derbyshire."
The Derbyshire UASC partnership includes the county council, health providers, police and community and voluntary groups.
The Government's national transfer scheme
The Department for Education and Home Office is working with the Local Government Association and Directors of Children's Services at councils across the UK to introduce the statutory national transfer scheme.
Number of children coming to Derbyshire
We've agreed to take up to 0.07% of the county's child population in line with the Government's National Transfer scheme.
If the transfer scheme progresses as the Home Office anticipates and Derbyshire is required by the Government to reach its full 0.07% threshold it could mean up to 97 asylum seeking children being accommodated in the county.
These will come either from other local councils which have a high number of UASC or possibly from camps abroad in the future.
The young people will live across Derbyshire in a variety of accommodation including with county council foster carers, with independent fostering agencies or in independent accommodation with support from agencies such as Barnardo's.
Accommodation will depend on the child's age, needs and where there is capacity.
Country of origin
The young people are from various countries but the highest numbers are likely to be from Eritrea, Afghanistan, Albanian and Syria.
The Government will provide funding for each child transferred to Derbyshire paid directly to Derbyshire County Council.
GP, dentist and school places
UASC in Derbyshire are entitled to the same health and education support as any other child in our care.
Looking after the young people when they arrive
The young people who need care and homes are likely to be vulnerable and may have complex issues. However, some of the UASC already with us in Derbyshire have settled well and are enjoying school.
We'll create a social worker team to support the young people and ensure they have access to relevant services.
Health and security checks
Health and security checks will be carried out by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Home Office before the young people arrive in Derbyshire. They will be assessed and seen regularly by our social worker team.
Length of stay
The young people can stay in Derbyshire as children in care until they are 18 when they have to apply for asylum as an adult.
If they are successful they can stay within the UK in line with UK immigration rules. If they are refused asylum they will have to return to their county of origin.
Some UASC may be able to be reunited with family members already in UK.
You can help
Many charities and organisations are providing help and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers. These include:
- British Red Cross Appeal (opens in a new window)
- Oxfam (opens in a new window)
- Save the Children's Child Refugee Crisis Appeal (opens in a new window)
- Refugee Council Crisis Appeal (opens in a new window)
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) (opens in a new window)
- UNICEF (opens in a new window)
- The World Food Programme (opens in a new window)
- Refugees Welcome (opens in a new window)
Volunteering to help refugees
Several charities and organisations are working with refugees across the UK. Find out more about volunteering opportunities in your area (opens in a new window).
You could also contact the Refugee Council (opens in a new window), the British Red Cross (opens in a new window) or Refugee Action (opens in a new window) to find out more about volunteering to support asylum seekers and refugees already in the UK.
You can also offer help via the British Red Cross information line tel: 0800 107 8727 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Offering to look after or foster a child in Derbyshire
Offering a property
If you're a landlord who would like to offer accommodation please contact your housing authority which is your local district or borough council
Supporting Syrian refugee families in Derbyshire
Derbyshire councils have also joined up with health colleagues, voluntary and community groups and other agencies to respond to Government plans to expand its Syrian vulnerable person resettlement scheme.