Croydon Council has successfully bid for government funding to help provide stability and specialist care for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people (UASC).
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced Croydon Council – which looks after the second highest number of UASC in the UK – will receive £230k to help achieve stability in fostering placements for these vulnerable young people.
The council will use the funding, which will be awarded over two years from the controlling migration fund, to recruit specialist foster carers for UASC and provide them with extensive training. Also, to provide specialist training and after-support for all Croydon’s 360 existing foster households to ensure they have the knowledge, skills and tools to engage with this group. Training will cover issues such as trafficking and exploitation, immigration processes, citizenship, and how to handle cultural barriers and promote integration into UK life.
Croydon is a ‘gateway authority’ due to the location of the UK Home Office in the town centre, which means that all asylum-seekers have to present there on arrival to the UK. As a result, a significant number of children looked-after by the local authority – almost half the total – are UASC (43.4% as at September 2017). In the past 10 years, Croydon has accommodated more than 4,800 UASC, and in 2016 served 430 UASC – more than 10% of the total number in England and a third of those in London.
“Croydon is extremely proud of its strong track record in welcoming and providing care for these extremely vulnerable children and young people, many of whom have experienced unimaginable trauma.
“We want these young people to thrive and to become part of our community and we welcome this funding to help us provide them with stability and support, and ensure they integrate into our community.
“We are leading the way nationally with this specialist approach to their foster care placements and we hope to share the learning and outcomes with our partners in local government.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning