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Asylum-seeking Children

Volume 447: debated on Friday 16 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department takes to ensure that (a) the Hillingdon Judgment and (b) Local Authority Circular (2003)13 are applied by local authorities responsible for unaccompanied asylum seeking children. (76641)

The Department collects annual statistics through the National Data Collection exercise on the number of children, including unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC), who become looked after and the age at which they cease to be looked after. These figures show how local authorities are supporting looked after children who are UASC.

Adherence to the framework set by statute, regulations and guidance, including that relating to Local Authority Circular (2003)13, together with making appropriate responses to judicial review and other case law judgments, are matters that are the responsibility of local authorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding is available from central Government to support local authorities in the discharge of their obligations towards asylum seeking children. (76642)

Since 2004-05, my Department established the UASC Leaving Care Grant to assist those authorities facing increased financial pressure arising from the impact of the Hillingdon Judgment. Local authorities which support substantial numbers of such young people are eligible to receive funding through the grant, to assist towards meeting the costs of supporting additional numbers of “former relevant children” under Section 23C of the Children Act 1989.

In addition, the Home Office has, for a number of years, provided specific grant support to local authorities which support unaccompanied asylum seeking children aged under 18.