Councils must help assess migrant children, LGA says

The Local Government Association (LGA) has advised that councils should be more involved in the process of assessing the needs of child migrants in Calais before they arrive in the UK.

The news comes as data has shown around 4,000 lone children are claiming asylum in the UK, with councils in charge of ensuring they are resettled and receive necessary care. However, the LGA has said that earlier involvement in the process will make it easier for councils to help resettle children.

Councillors from the LGA are set to visit the makeshift site in Calais, in a bid to join up efforts to help vulnerable children travelling alone. Councillors will aims to share expertise on how to keep long young people safe and ensure they receive appropriate care.

A scheme announced in May committed the government to accepting lone child refugees registered in France, Italy or Greece before 20 March.

Currently, local authorities are responsible for costs including schooling, foster care, university fees and housing, and receive funding at a fixed rate from central government.

David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s asylum, refugee and migration task group, commented: “Many children will require care and support packages directly from councils or their partners if they are not able to be relocated with existing family in Europe or the UK. Ideally, councils will work alongside government and their partners to assess children and agree their needs before they enter the UK."