Home Office is lying about capacity to care for child refugees

The Home Office is backtracking on its commitment to accept 3,000 refugee children under the Dubs amendment. It says this is because local authorities have no more space for refugee or unaccompanied children and young people.

This is a lie; there is no other way to describe this egregious attempt to blame local authorities for a decision that has been wholly made in the Home Office, which has made no reasonable effort to examine what capacity there is in the system.

Through 2016, fostering and adoption charity Tact and other charitable agencies including Barnardo’s and Action for Children met Home Office and Department for Education (DfE) officials to discuss capacity in respect of looking after unaccompanied children.

The Home Office and DfE were concerned that a few port local authorities were taking most children, while other councils were not coming forward to help. They were planning the dispersal scheme that has now come into being.

Tact offered the option of also contracting directly with our fostering services as we could offer placements across the UK in a number of local authorities. The Home Office could then pay directly for fostering and semi-independent placements and refund local authorities the additional costs of providing social work and support services to unaccompanied young people.

The Home Office turned down this model, preferring instead to go solely down the route of local authority hubs and the dispersal scheme. We pointed out that councils…

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